Tuesday, February 25, 2014


The American movie Frances Ha began touring the festivals in 2012 and had its theatrical release in 2013  but 2014 was well along before I saw it, even though many good things were said about it all over the place and there were black-and-white stills to admire on many different sites.

A black-and-white movie that looks back at the fluid, urban, rough-edged, black-and-white tradition in America and in France. Greta Gerwig is Frances. Her best friend Sophie is Mickey Sumner.

There was one note here that jarred with me, the same note repeated several times in several scenes. That jarring note was something called product placement.

Basically, the allure of the film depended on its spontaneous, intimate, Truffaut-style approach to the lives of current-young-fire-escape-bohemians-in-New-York. But now and then  just now and then  there would be the Bose headphones, the Acne tote-bag. And not only would these highly advertised objects feature prominently on camera (with logos carefully, lingeringly visible) but they would also be worked into the script as objects-of-note.

However, the fact that few* other viewers have mentioned this "incongruity" leads me to think that perhaps the problem is with me rather than with the movie. No doubt consumerism has penetrated society with such thoroughness by this time that the consciousnesses of the American twenty-something generation regards it as a universal & value-neutral reality rather than as a revelation of cold-hearted, manipulative, behind-the-scenes corporate interference.

*at least one other person did notice this same thing  "The ultimate hipster movie, acting like you're flat-broke while cashing those product placement checks."