Getting away with it

26. Clannad, Lore (album, 1996)
27. Loveless (film, dir. Andrey Zviagintsev, 2017)
28. Phantom Thread (film, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 2017)

Phantom Thread has rather stolen the limelight at the moment, but I hope plenty of people go and see Loveless, because it's great. It's a Russian film about a couple going through a horrible divorce, when their twelve-year-old son goes missing. They're both unsympathetic people; their new partners are likewise; if the poor son hadn't disappeared he would have been packed off to boarding school because nobody wanted him. Between the snow, and the general atmosphere, Loveless has the feeling of a Scandinavian crime procedural to it - but without a detective, without witnesses, without a conclusion. What's left is what's the most interesting part of that kind of story anyway, the layers and layers of emotion that fit between the gaps of the procedural, of what it's like to live around something like this. I enjoyed it very much and have a mind to seek out Andrey Zviagintsev's other work.

As for Phantom Thread, there are a hundred and one hot takes at the moment. A friend suggested that it feels like a play: I can see that, by and large - and of course it's beautiful and blow me sideways about The Cinematography Situation and also, also, I just love seeing dressmaking - proper dressmaking where women have different shapes and skin that moves - on screen. I have two different reactions to the two halves of the film: I have to admit, in the first half, I was so jealous of Daniel Day Lewis's character it's unreal. Having the world bend itself around your creativity like that is a thing I could never have, and I wouldn't take if I were offered it - but can you even imagine living in a world like that? How productive one might be? I am reminded once again that one reason I am not and could never be Umberto Eco, for instance, is that Umberto Eco didn't have to clean his own bathroom.

The second half is more about how a person fits in that world without being completely squashed. It's unorthodox, for sure. But compelling watching. It seems to have split the crowd; personally I think this is the sort of film that might improve if you had to write an essay about it. You certainly wouldn't be short of material. (Also apparently I'm more fond than most people of writing essays.)

For me when I have to work, I leave my phone in another room, close the door of my tiny 8 ft by 6 ft windowless office, and put on some Clannad. Those times were few and far between in January, but I'm slowly trying to claw them back. There are worse lives to live.

Other things I've seen/heard this week: parts of the new film of Journey's End, which you can keep; the first half of the album Oh Pioneer by Duke Special. I like his older, more acousticky stuff better.