Joyce Chopra’s Smooth Talk first came on my radar when I was doing A Year With Women, but I couldn’t find it for rent anywhere online so I didn’t watch it that year. Last year I found it at Videodrome here in Atlanta and I finally got to give it a go. I’m not sure what I expected, but this film was not like anything I’d seen before. It’s a masterful adult fairytale about the confusion of teengirldom and the darkness that can lurk in men. On the surface the film’s plot could sound like it is anti-sex, but that’s distinctly not the case. The film is based on Joyce Carol Oates’s 1966 short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”, which itself was inspired by a real life serial killer Charles Schmid, known as The Pied Piper of Tucson because he targeted teenage girls. There will be some spoilers after the cut.
I didn’t see as many films in April as I normally would have, mostly because I work A. LOT. of late nights. That said, most of what I watched in April was directed by women and it was so refreshing. It felt like A Year With Women again. There’s just so many great films by women left for me to discover! The end of April included the TCM Classic Film Festival, but attending the festival as an employee is very different from when I attended as press (read: I actually have to work and don’t get to see very many films), but I did attend TCMFF again this year (my 8th festival; 3rd being on staff) and it is always the best week of my year. I only saw four films (all ones I’d seen before) + one short (new-to-me by Bill Morrison!), but I was lucky enough to see several fascinating panels and I got to meet Gillian Armstrong (!!!), James Ivory, and John Toll so it was a blast. As always, everything I watched plus some favorites can be found after the cut.