Sunday, September 4, 2011

Rooms on Film: The Guitar

Back in 2008, I was perusing the New York Times and saw a review for a movie called, The GuitarThe movie sounded like a real downer: Last Holiday, without the life savings and whirlwind travel spree. The accompanying photo seemed to confirm this as the doomed protagonist appeared pale and emaciated. Her environment however - financed by a credit card spending spree - was…to die for:

image credit: jo jo whilden/cold fusion media  

Some time later, I stumbled on the image in my extensive "style tray" folder and started searching for screencaps. The internet turned up very little, but some of the images really looked promising in terms of the overall set. Then, lo and behold, one evening the movie  - which was a Sundance Festival entrant - turned up on Sundance Channel. Finally, a chance to see this delicious apartment in all its glory! It did not disappoint. This apartment is, to borrow from Pat Conroy, “a feast for the human eye.” The way it is decorated and lived in defines bohemian living. Facing her end, Melody Wilder revels in every reasonable sort of sensory and sensual indulgence. And. I. Mean. Every. She literally takes the time to delight in being able to smell, taste, touch, hear, and see. 

If you've seen The Guitar, you know it does get a little steamy in the middle. And the musical score rocks. And it is a bit unbelievable. But...this sort of urban fairy tale of how it takes a terminal cancer diagnosis to help broken note, Melody Wilder, rediscover her harmony is really pretty fun and uplifting. The environment, moving from a dark, cramped basement apartment, to a sunny penthouse loft on the Hudson River, is as responsible for Melody's reawakening as anything else. 

Witness the transformation: 

we meet melody on the day she receives the triple blows of a fatal cancer diagnosis, job layoff and breakup. then we follow her home to a dark, spare basement apartment. with no safety bars on the windows! thankfully, she opts to quit this dump and blow her severance living it up in a manhattan loft before the end.
mel arrives at her new abode with nothing but the drab clothes on her back and instinctively sets about abusing her credit cards. and, yes, this is a two-story loft.

Then Melody, aided by several credit cards, turns this empty box of luxurious potential into a freaking Dream Palace. She does what people want to do every time they walk into ABC Carpet & Home. Or Anthropologie. Or even IKEA. Behold:

if it's your last hurrah, why not bring a sundial? who would expect that?
the title object symbolic of melody's emancipation
"mine eyes dazzle/she died young" i think i read that in an anne rice novel; what's not to love here? color + texture + pattern.
the partition wall is a light installation!
mel's living better than the rich. she left the pricey chandeliers on the floor!
white leather couches, fine linens and high-end aromatherapy.
i just can't get enough of this.
this is bohemian living. pizza and wine on an expensive rug with mood lighting from moroccan lanterns, chandeliers and a million votives. ...i could do this at home.
this is everything her old place wasn't: open, airy, bright, colorful, comfortable, fun, uplifting and full of music.
when she casts off her old life, mel even clothes herself in luxury. it reminds me of andre leon talley in "the september issue" going on about how his eyes are "starved for beauty" in the middle of winter.
this place is awesome by day and by night. you could do this look with some ikea sheers and pillows!
i only just noticed that settee in the background.
more symbolism: once her nest is feathered, melody takes to wearing a butterfly choker that says a lot about her spiritual state.
i know this was covered but it is so pretty...
part of this experience is the purchase of the guitar equipment. it's integral to the plot, so i left it out. so you'll see the movie.
imagine every where you turn that view is waiting for you!
melody gets so brand new her hair starts to dreadlock...
some of my favorite colors are on display here.
she's kinda like a songbird in an aerie.

Did I mention this was directed by Amy Redford? That's right. Redford. 

Overall, this movie is both a classic hero’s journey and a classic New York story. An urban fairy tale wherein Melody rises from a dark pit of despair to an exhilarating height that few cities can offer. When the call to action comes, she answers it and goes all out. Of course, the price of her transformation is a wicked amount of debt. But if that were all it took to serve a massive “fuck you” to cancer, it would be money well spent.

"Eat, drink and be merry/For tomorrow we'll die." - Dave Matthews Band, Tripping Billies

Starring: Saffron Burrows, Isaac de Bankole, Paz de la Huerta 
Director: Amy Redford 
From: Breakout Pictures


Anonymous said...

I read your post a while ago. Loved the screencaps from the first moment. I then bought the dvd last week ago. I had to order it in England because I live in Germany. Now, I just want to say Thank you so much for that wonderful recommendation. I really enjoyed the movie.

belledame said...

wow, iris. i'm glad you liked it. it is a great spiritual journey, right? just a solid reminder not to let day to day living bury your spirit.