Thursday, March 22, 2018

Poetry in the Wild

Damn, I love it when weird things I like come together. Like, for instance, I love lesbians. And, also, I love me some Emily Dickinson. And some Molly Shannon. And definitely some of the director of “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same.” So, imagine my delight when all those divergent weird things find each other in one movie called “Wild Nights With Emily.” The film at SXSW now is from director Madeleine Olnek of “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same” fame and stars “Superstar” star Molly Shannon as the titular Emily Dickinson in a comedic – and Sapphic – look at her life. I know, you love every single part of that weird sentence.

Now if you know anything about Olnek’s work is it is a) very gay and b) very odd. But, you know, in a good way – for both. I really loved the quirky-to-the-extreme “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same.” It was a low-budget absurdist hoot. Her follow up “The Foxy Merkins” was also quite quirky and gay, though – at least for me – not as endearing. But her work isn’t bland, that’s for sure.

Reviews of “Wild Nights With Emily” have praised the film’s reframing of Dickinson’s public persona. Not the spinster recluse who didn’t want to publish her work, but a vibrant, warm and brilliant gay woman who had a lifelong romance with her childhood friend/future sister-in-law Susan Gilbert.

Indiewire said the film the “Best Lesbian Comedy in Years” that is “anchored by a surprisingly touching love story” between the two women. Olnek brings also some of her favorite regulars for the film, both Susan Ziegler (as Susan Gilbert) and Lisa Haas – who were in her previous two films as well – return here. While Olnek’s work may not be for everyone, I am excited to fully embrace the weirdness and queerness of it all. Plus, I’ve always thought Molly Shannon had unplumbed depths. And, you know, she’s freaking hilarious. So there’s that.

So, what do you think? A good lesbian film to get excited about? Well, “Hope” is the thing with feathers.


Carmen SanDiego said...

Good lesbian filme? My heart can’t wait for it! Yes please

Anonymous said...

Enjoy this poem, "Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes," by Billy Collins:

First, her tippet made of tulle,
easily lifted off her shoulders and laid
on the back of a wooden chair.

And her bonnet,
the bow undone with a light forward pull.

Then the long white dress, a more
complicated matter with mother-of-pearl
buttons down the back,
so tiny and numerous that it takes forever
before my hands can part the fabric,
like a swimmer's dividing water,
and slip inside.

You will want to know
that she was standing
by an open window in an upstairs bedroom,
motionless, a little wide-eyed,
looking out at the orchard below,
the white dress puddled at her feet
on the wide-board, hardwood floor.

The complexity of women's undergarments
in nineteenth-century America
is not to be waved off,
and I proceeded like a polar explorer
through clips, clasps, and moorings,
catches, straps, and whalebone stays,
sailing toward the iceberg of her nakedness.

Later, I wrote in a notebook
it was like riding a swan into the night,
but, of course, I cannot tell you everything -
the way she closed her eyes to the orchard,
how her hair tumbled free of its pins,
how there were sudden dashes
whenever we spoke.

What I can tell you is
it was terribly quiet in Amherst
that Sabbath afternoon,
nothing but a carriage passing the house,
a fly buzzing in a windowpane.

So I could plainly hear her inhale
when I undid the very top
hook-and-eye fastener of her corset

and I could hear her sigh when finally it was unloosed,
the way some readers sigh when they realize
that Hope has feathers,
that reason is a plank,
that life is a loaded gun
that looks right at you with a yellow eye.

Helena said...

Thank you for this information. Can't wait to see it.