DCA Film Club is here with Alice's first film pick!


3 April 2020

Welcome to our DCA Film Club! We'll be recommending great films to watch at home, then meeting in our Facebook group, or your preferred social media to share your thoughts using #DCAFilmClub!

Alice Black, our Head of Cinema, has chosen Spike Jonze's short I'm Here for her first pick, and introduces it below: Watch the film for free here.

I’m Here - Spike Jonze is a name that conjures up cool like not many others.  And while there’s a certain level of quirky whimsy (and lens flare!) that infuses his work, there’s more to it than that. What I like best about his work is that underneath all the clever, is the warmth - particularly in his films that tell stories about human relationships, even when they feature non-humans. Via the robots featured in I'm Here, or the AI device that Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with in Her, or the creatures in Where The Wild Things Are, Jonze is holding up a mirror to ourselves. 

"Spike Jonze is a name that conjures up cool like not many others..."

Born Adam Spiegel in New York City, Spike Jonze’s artistic career started in his teens when he began photographing the BMX and skate scene which lead to skate films and then to music videos. Maybe the skate connection is why his films are so popular at DCA? We’ve showed two of his back-catalogue in our programme this past year (Being John Malkovich and Her) and both were popular, so his work definitely still has a following in Dundee! There’s an other-worldly quality about his work that means it doesn’t date which is why I’d challenge people who call him 'hip'. It might be of the moment, but there’s also a timelessness to it.  

I’m Here was a short made in 2010 and it sits in the Jonze canon between Where The Wild Things Are and Her. It was commissioned by Absolut Vodka and launched as an online experience (way ahead of its time!) where you registered for tickets, got your specific seat and screening time and sat down to watch it. I first saw the film in an amazing Art Deco cinema called the Babylon at the Berlin Film Festival. It was shown as part of a shorts package in the Generations (Kids) strand. I’m not sure if I would have fallen in love with it quite the same way I did if I hadn’t seen it there, in an auditorium full of unruly teens who were completely enraptured at the end. Andrew Garfield was there for a Q&A at the end and I remember thinking, “oh what a nice awkward young man!”.  He was so polite and answered everyone’s questions carefully and thoughtfully.  At that time, I’d only ever seen him in British television (Boy A, Red Riding) and it wasn’t obvious then that he’d end up going off to Hollywood to play Spider-Man. There’s lots of elements of this film that I love: its economy of storytelling, the way it looks, the soundtrack - but probably what held my attention most was Garfield’s work - his ability to convey vulnerability, that joy at finding someone you love, the sacrifice you are wiling to make for them - all through body movement and his voice. It’s a great performance, especially considering he has a large box on his head. 

"It’s a great performance, especially considering he has a large box on his head."

Join in with the film chat on your preferred social media using #DCAFilmClub or in our new DCA Film Club Facebook group, where you can check out our discussion from Tuesday 7 April. Feel free share your thoughts and impressions with us at any time, along with your own must-watch movie tips - we'd love to hear from you!

I'm Here next steps: films and links to explore

 Watch more short films from Spike Jonze:
How They Get There (1997)
Lamp (2002) - IKEA ad 
Mourir aupres de toi (2011) - Co-directed with Simon Cahn

Seek out Jonze’s features, available to rent on Prime Video, Apple TV and other streaming platforms:
Being John Malkovich
Where The Wild Things Are

If you enjoyed Her at DCA or at home, check out this interview with Jonze about the making of the film here

Enjoy collections of Jonze’s music video work:

Lastly, if you want to cast the net wider, here's a great personal op piece about the controversy around the children’s story I'm Here is based on. 

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