I just saw two really fun movies that show why no sane writer would put a story in 2022. The present is constantly changing. With the way our modern world is if a story takes place in the present, a movie set in the past will have no chance of catching up.
And so the great new Russian-Finnish production Compartment no. 6 takes place in the indeterminate past. Maybe 1997 or maybe 2001. People are still using pay phones and traveling with mini camcorders rather than filming with their cell phones. No one has to wear a face mask yet, even though much of the film takes place in the coldest temperatures.
Compartment no. 6 tells the story of Laura, a Finnish student who takes a Russian train to the Arctic Circle. Maybe you’re old enough to remember this 1995 movie before sunrise where Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke fall in love while traveling by train across Europe in one day? Imagine a much, much longer train ride where the guy is a sociopath and you get a sense of the low-key charms of this unlikely romance.
And when I say this film is a romance, I don’t mean just between the two protagonists. The real romance is towards travel. Anyone who’s ever boarded a train by themselves can relate to a completely derailed journey that reminds you that the key word to misadventure is adventure. And with its clever ending Compartment no. 6 will have you researching how many prices for a Eurail pass have ballooned in our sad present.
I really liked the new animated film turn red. My eight year old daughter too. But in this age of trigger warnings, you’d think Pixar and Disney would easily embarrass parents’ warnings that their new cartoon features thirteen-year-old girls who are horny as hell.
Disney has long featured princesses wishing their prince would one day come, but it’s not Frozen‘s Anna having an abstract crush on a prince. turn red features girls doodling in a boy’s loving embrace and ogling their classmates at basketball practice.
turn red is set in 2002, when eighth-grade student Mei learns that she comes from a long line of women who, whenever passionate, transform into a giant red panda. It Doesn’t Take an English Major to Get Makeover is a metaphor for the changes a body, mind, and libido go through in puberty.
But I guess there’s a cliché that turning around is fair play. When I was eight, I saw Teen Wolf to which this film is clearly indebted. In this film, Michael J. Fox’s spirit animal that represented the extra hair and libido of adolescence was a wolf. Teen Wolf and her friends were even more excited than Mei and her gang. But even after endless viewings of this film, it took me many years to think of girls as figures of desire.
So maybe we prudish parents have nothing to worry about this new movie prematurely turning their children into lust.
I can now see that the trigger warning was actually right there in the title.
Otherwise, why would they call it, turn red other than that, it’s the color dads’ faces will turn when they watch it with their tween daughters.