Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer Inspiration: The Virgin Suicides

I suppose it's a bit typical of a blogger like me to cite The Virgin Suicides as some kind of inspiration, but I try not to apologize for the movies or books that I like. Despite it's popularity it's quite a good movie—not that it's world-changing or the greatest movie of the decade—but it's thoughtful and (to use a word used too-often) entrancing at moments. The book is heartbreaking not so much for it's obvious subject (although it is), but in the painstaking assemblage of passages and phrases that so clearly evoke a mood or sensation that any of us who fancies themselves a kind of writer finds themselves hypnotized and a bit envious.


(via Trauma Ben)


(via Ruth & the Magic Mirror)

The movie came out in 2000, just as I was graduating middle school and heading to high school, and perhaps that's the cause of a summer preoccupation with it. At thirteen, fourteen looming, I remember reading and watching it but feeling a bit odd because of the darkness in it. But there was a dreamy focus, a drawling voice, images of hot summer days that now seem so close to my own teenage-summers (minus the tragedy and debauchery). It spawned, to be really pretentious and begin giving names to things, The Cult of the Virgin Suicides.


(via r9m)


(via Ruth & the Magic Mirror)

I don't mean this in the way that girls of a certain age started wearing white dresses and flinging themselves out of existence, but rather that there are droves of us who post pictures from it, watch it, quote it, try to be strange creatures lounging around summer and make our lives more like the aesthetic of the thing. I'm sure someone, somewhere writes an important paper about the horrible-ness of this kind of thing, but for the moment I try not to complicate it and funnel the dreamy scenes into my interpretation of summer.




Have we photosynthesized our breakfast today?



(last three images found here, by plus_minus at film_stills on Livejournal.)

29 comments:

  1. I'm sure this movie has a lot of critics but I'm not one of them. It's so easy to forget that you're watching something so dark when it is presented in such a light manner.

    The aesthetics of the movie are too lovely. Especially when the sisters are all in the field. Everything is magic. And you never quite figure out what went so terribly wrong.

    I especially love the use of Alone Again, Naturally in the movie!

    B from A plus B

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  2. this is still one of my favorite books and movies. <3 <3 <3

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  3. I remember feeling so similar when I watched this film, I will alwaus associate it with the sumnmer when I was 14, when I was so obsessed with it!!
    From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

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  4. i did not understand this movie at all when i first saw it (i was still in middle school i think), but the combination of kirsten and josh hartnet was too much for me to resist!

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  5. I think the same thing when reading Eugenides: evocative and at the same time visceral (if that's possible). I've never seen the movie but the images you've posted are just divine. Even if it could be deemed 'typical' to post bout the 'Virgin Suicides' if you are still stirred creatively or emotionally that's all that matters. Thanks for sharing :)

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  6. I still haven't seen the film..I must, must, must!
    :)

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  7. Can you believe I haven't seen it? I think I saw bits and pieces when I was younger, but never really sat down to watch it. Now I sort of put it off because I tend to do that with crazy popular things.

    I'll get around to it, but just wanted to say that it only matters how it makes YOU feel.

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  8. there is a really strange obsession people have with this film and book, it is a lovely aesthetic, like the most beautiful form of teenage angst

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  9. I have never seen the movie but just by watching the trailer and hearing people talk about it I can get a sense of what it's like.

    The pictures always seem so hot and dreamy as if you can actually feel the sun on your skin.

    Christy from Dress Rehearsal

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  10. I really like the style of the girls in the movie.
    Kristen Dust is so beautiful... (as you ;))

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  11. one of my absolute favourites!

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  12. i read the book recently - i found it haunting and its one of those books thst lingers on your mind for months afterwards - the film didn't make as much of an impact on me - but is generally the way! ck :) x

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  13. such great inspiration! thank you! :)

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  14. This is an awesome post! I totally agree with everything you said about this film and book. I sort of want to be that person to write an essay about the aesthetics of the film and its influence on my artwork and on the world at large. I would love to pick your brain a bit more on this topic of The Cult of the Virgin Suicides, perhaps we should write a manifesto!

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  15. I watched it randomly when I went to go visit my brother in Switzerland and we thought it was wayyy too depressing for a rare family reunion (we don't see each other a lot...). But it was haunting and it stuck with me...

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  16. I'm really happy you posted about this, because while I'd heard the name before I'd never had much interest in it. I just watched the trailer/read a summary and it sounds like a really beautiful and sad and amazing movie. I can't wait to see it!! :D

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  17. The Virgin Suicides is such a haunting movie. I love it but the underlying sense of mystery surrounding the girls gives me the heebie geebies (especially the end). Reminds me of Picnic at Hanging Rock.
    And I agree, the Virgin Suicides have been a bit overhyped and cited over the years, especially by bloggers - but its not our fault the girls are so entrancing (and Josh Hartnett is such a stud hah)!

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  18. oh, i adore this movie. it's been way to long since i've watched it. such a lovely summer movie.

    xo Alison

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  19. I think the film just has that very dreamy vision of being a teenage girl (minus the horror) that is strangely appealing as you said. It doesn't matter if lots of people have posted about it because it's still relevant to you.

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  20. i love this film, it portraits teenage in a unique way, tragical and dreamy. i love when boys telephone girls and make them listen to music, so nice
    lovely blog:)

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  21. Ohhh you captured my thoughts on this PERFECTLY. Absolutely perfectly.

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  22. I do love this film, although I haven't gotten around to reading the book yet. It is so pretty to look at and then there is that pure emotion and moods that each scene can invoke that is so unlike other films. I definitely see it as summer inspiration...maybe b/c I'm a bit of a dreamer...

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  23. "there are droves of us who post pictures from it, watch it, quote it, try to be strange creatures lounging around summer and make our lives more like the aesthetic of the thing"

    You've put your finger on it. We aspire to be those beautiful mysterious creatures, craving for others to understand our thoughts and moods, without having to resort to hangings or gassings or anything of the sort. The book is incredible in its simplicity, the fact that the other is a male and he taps into the teenage psyche, of how boys dream about girls and how girls are beautiful mysterious creatures that boys long to unlock the mystery of.

    The film has such an impact, so many teenage girls can relate to it. I didn't read the book or see the film until I was 16 and when i got into blog reading over the past three years I was amazed at how much it had influenced popular culture. The romantic view of adolescence has prevailed. Perhaps it could only be evoked with the nostalgia of a woman like Sofia long past adolescence. For as young girls we are beautiful creatures and do not know it. The 70s seem to be a more innocent decade than now, with the intrusion of the internet and photoshop creating an unrealistic image of femininity that young girls are subject to even before puberty. That's the real tragedy.

    /essay sorry - it's just a film and topic that really effects me.

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  24. I'm so glad that you spoke about The Virgin Suicides without claiming perfection; your realistic viewpoint that still holds strong to it as a favorite is so refreshing. I personally have mixed feelings about the movie, though its dreamlike aesthetic was certainly pleasing. Paired with other aspects, I am lukewarm about it, but God, those stills just make my heart all fizzy.

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  25. Hmmm...never saw it, but it sounds like a good book to read for the summer!

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