Saturday, March 07, 2015

Appropriate Behavior

I am intrigued to see the high-profile publicity Desiree Akhavan's film, Appropriate Behavior, is attracting, no doubt in part because of her attachment to the Girls juggernaut. But, I do hope discerning cinephiles will seek out Appropriate Behavior and enjoy Akhavan's oh-so-knowing and yet hopelessly inept Brooklynites as they grapple with relationships gone awry and being closeted to their families.
Appropriate Behavior
The heroine, Shirin, is a bisexual Persian-American 20-something reeling from the breakup with her girlfriend Maxine, bits of their story told in flashbacks punctuating the narrative. This time-skipping, as I discovered in a recent chat with Akhavan, was suggested by the film's producer, Cecilia Frugiuele, whose company Parkville Pictures financed the project. The trope slightly fractures the narrative, but doesn't detract from Akhavan's sharp ear for dialogue and range of intriguing characters, most notably a couple who hook up with Shirin in the most excruciatingly tense threesome I have seen committed to film.

If the ending is a bit vague and abrupt, the preceding 90 minutes speed by in a blur of deadpan one-liners and a bit of character development that belies the film's millennial glibness. Plus, the moody score is by Josephine Wiggs, who I am glad to say is continuing to make music after seeming to drop off the earth for a decade or so. Apparently, she is now touring with The Breeders again.

It is great to see such a mix of talents involved in independent film. UK filmgoers can see Appropriate Behavior on general release now and it will also feature in the upcoming Flare programme. More on that in due course.

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