Vague Visages Writers' Room

Vague Visages Writers’ Room: Weekend Vibes 5.11.18

Weekend Vibes is a Friday column about streaming recommendations, new release hype and entertainment events. 

Walter Neto (@wfcneto)

There’s a scene in Brian Crano’s Permission (2017) in which Anna (Rebecca Hall) talks to her long-time boyfriend Will (Dan Stevens) about their lives together. As they have dinner, they try to decide whether they should have an open relationship. However, what could’ve been a simple and even cliché scene becomes something much more through Crano’s direction. At first, Will avoids being the first to answer, and — right at that moment — a waiter breaks a plate. With the characters now frightened, Crano dims the light to show Will and Anna together but apart, with the broken plate becoming a metaphor for their relationship.

In addition, Anna’s brother Hale (David Joseph Craig) and his partner Reece (Morgan Spector) seem to have a balanced relationship, but they struggle with the fact that even though their love is real, they want different things from life. One of them wants a kid and the other doesn’t. Things get messed up between these four characters as they bring more people into their lives — they desire more because they realize there is more. Amazingly written and directed, Permission is a beautiful film about modern relationships. Most of all, though, it’s a beautiful film about how things may get lost in translation, and how eventually everything we hold inside ourselves may bust out and leave nothing the way it was before.

Stefen Styrsky (@stefen_styrsky)

My literary sweet spot is dissolute young people living on the margins: Jesus’ Son, Close to the Knives, Just Kids. So, I knew Cara Hoffman’s latest book Running (2017) was right up my alley. It didn’t disappoint.

Bridey, Jasper and Milo work as runners for a distinctly sub-par hotel in Athens. “Running” means luring tourists — through exaggeration, fake photos and downright lies — from the train station back to the hotel. It’s the late 80s, so there’s no internet room where a prospective guest might check out their claims before committing. In exchange, the trio earns a bit of money and a free place to stay. An American and two Brits bond over a shared identity — poor, and willing to live without all the stuff we believe essential (except for booze, sex and cigarettes), and they also run away from various situations and people, mostly themselves. Good luck with that last bit. Things become really interesting when they get mixed up in a passports-for-sale scam. What happens afterwards affects the course of all their lives, and the novel runs on the mystery of where exactly fate spun out Bridey, Milo and Jasper. The prose style is more dreamy than hard-boiled, but that doesn’t mean Running glamorizes or glosses over their semi-outlaw existence. The story poses it as something each character is compelled into, a sort of cleansing before they move on to the next stage of their lives. Fans of Running might also be interested to know that a film adaptation of Hoffman’s second novel about a returning female Iraq veteran, Be Safe I Love You, is currently in production.

Q.V. Hough (@QVHough)

This morning, I’ve been vibing on Jay and Mark Duplass’ Netflix series Evil Genius (recommend), but I’ll be spending most of my weekend binging FilmStruck’s new collection “Cannes ’68: Cinema in Revolt” via The Criterion Channel.

After watching Alain Resnais’ Je’ taime, je’ taime, I have that inner tingle and giddy feeling that comes with new cinematic relationships. What’s next? Dinner and Carlos Saura’s Peppermint Frappe? Maybe some lunch and Miloš Forman’s The Firemen’s Ball? To quote Will Ferrell from Old School, “I don’t know if I’ll have time!” But I do know that I’m going to have nice little Friday and Saturday, as eight films round out the historic collection.

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