Girl Picture (2022) - Alli Haapasalo
A tonic from the panoply of adolescent love stories that feel manufactured, prescriptive, or even didactic. Girl Picture is formally and conceptually attuned to the anarchism intrinsic to experience, intimacy, and affect. Life is messy and Girl Picture has no moral precepts about the rules of connection, sexuality, and desire. In fact, one could argue it's radical in its depiction of corporeal pleasure and sexuality due solely to the fact that its theatrics and dramatics are never drawn directly from either. Girl Picture completely detached and uninterested in interrogating puritanical ideals around sex, and heteronormative notions of connection. Simply put, by not giving those things any weight or any substance, Girl Picture transcends social constructs and expectations, ruminating on the existential. The messiness of emotions, the reciprocity necessary for companionship, and how we as individuals may draw from internal impulse and cognitive analysis of what we experience, yet the intrinsic interconnectivity of modernity means we constantly are influenced by others and are in a state of perpetual evolution. I'm probably making this sound more profound in ways than it is, yet it just felt so authentic to living, where experience is tethered to self-discovery and personal growth. We are social creatures, and how we communicate through movement, action, and language influences not only the one we are in direct contact with but ultimately others - we are all nodes on a massive connected network. Conflict is not portrayed solely as an impediment to self-discovery but as a necessity in the journey of life. So many films exhibit love in a way that borders on utopianism, and perhaps what I love the most about this deeply affecting film is how Girl Picture outright rejects such juvenile notions. The desire for connection and companionship is bound to be full of conflict as we, at the end of the day, are emotional creatures. Love isn't logical, it is emotion-based, and with something as powerful as emotion, expressing our internal feelings openly and honestly is simply not easy, which I think this film demonstrates wonderfully. Love is essential, a powerful force against the cold, indifference of existence yet to present it as utopian is a great deception, and Girl Picture wonderfully recognizes that with anything as beautiful as love, pain is almost sure to be a part of that. Surprised my mutuals don't seem to have responded to this as much as I did. Frankly, not sure I've been as affected by a film like this since when I first saw Lukas Moodysson's Show Me Love.
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