16 December 2010

Tiny Furniture

Written & Directed by: Lena Dunham
Full credits at IMDb

Dunham’s promising debut hints at Mumblecore, what with its post-college malaise and its supporting role for Alex Karpovsky. But its visual style is far finer, its ornate, psychologically evocative set designs captured (by Jody Lee Lipes) on a tripod in Gordon Willis-like widescreen: book-lined walls in an apartment so modernly designed, so alienatingly white it feels like a spaceship. It’s no accident that Karpovsky’s character reads a Woody Allen hardcover before turning in.

What other movies does Tiny Furniture recall? Perhaps, most glaringly, Aazel Jacobs’ Momma’s Man, not only for its downtown setting and its child returning to the nest, but because Dunham cuts costs, as Jacobs did, by casting her real mother (Laurie Simmons) as “her mother” and her real sister (Grace Dunham) as “her sister,” and by using their real apartment as the film’s “apartment”.

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