Bare Dir. Natasha Leite

[IFC Films; 2015]

Styles: drama
Others: Asthma, Terminator: Genisys

The Terminator is a great title for a movie. Stark, foreboding, mysterious — who is the terminator? Who’s he terminating? A title like that can make a film. But a bad title? That can kill a movie stone dead. Any anticipation surrounding Terminator: Genisys died in a blaze of wanton misspelling. Is Genisys like Genesis, but to the max? A totally radical origin story?

A title sets the tone, and with it, expectations. So when you’re calling your movie about strippers Bare, we damn well better be getting our fair share of emotional honesty!

Luckily, Bare has some of that, and slightly more. We’ve got Paz de la Huerta, the girl who embarrassed herself outside a nightclub in that Lana del Ray video, embarrassing herself inside a nightclub. What could be more real, more honest than that? Sometimes things happen indoors that also happen outdoors!

We’ve got Dianna Agron, out of Glee but not the one you’re thinking of, looking kind of ratty as a small-town check-out girl. Which is so true to life, y’know, because if you’d just been in Glee, you’d probably try your hand at an indie movie too! Kill some time.

And we’ve got one of those journeys of self-discovery, from being a small-town check-out girl hooking up with Paz de la Huerta, to swimming naked in Las Vegas, having sex in the desert, and then finally, winding up as a stripper in the arse-end of nowhere — the sort of journey we’ve all gone through ourselves whenever we’ve seen a film by Natasha Leite called Bare!

But did you know that words can have two meanings? I mean, sometimes? I know, right? So maybe the title means, like, Bare in the sense of doing the bare minimum to qualify as a film-maker? Bare with me on this (another one knocked out of the ballpark), but I think Leite is trying to say:

Be yourself. If you can’t write compelling characters, it doesn’t matter. Hire some famous actresses the audience remembers from other things.

You contain multitudes. If you can’t decide whether the film you’re directing is a slice of life kitchen sinker or a hallucinatory rites of passage romance, it doesn’t matter. Just do both then staple them together in the edit. Something’s bound to work, right?

We can become the stories that we tell about ourselves. If you can’t be bothered constructing an interesting story, then look — it really, really doesn’t matter. As long as you’ve got a rough idea of where you’re going, people will stick with it. Probably. If they’ve paid money to see it, then yeah, probably. So don’t worry if your scenes go nowhere- just write some super profound dialogue and those guys in the audience — they’ll think they’re watching one of those indie movies the blogs are all het up over. Sorted.

Great title. Well done to all involved. Now — is Terminator: Genisys on Netflix yet?

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