"My I Love You" with Andrea Panaligan

January 8, 2019

With this new column (named after the Frankie Cosmos song) we wanted to do a spin off of an old Instagram series that we used to do called zb + zm's current obsessions where every week each of us would share one art and/or music related thing or person that we were obsessed with. This slowly dwindled as school got in the way, but we wanted to start it back up by seeing what our followers and staff were interested in. We are delighted to kick off this new series with Andrea Panaligan!

Shirkers (Documentary)
Shirkers is film critic and now filmmaker Sandi Tan’s debut feature about her debut feature. As a teenager, she shot a 16mm road movie with a couple of friends and her very mysterious, middle-aged American mentor, who later vanishes with all their footage. When the film is recovered two decades later, Tan recounts the production and retraces her mentor’s steps before his disappearance. There is a portion in the documentary where scenes from their movie, shot in 1992, are juxtaposed to scenes of western movies released years later—a shot of Tan, who plays the protagonist, looking through an aquarium cuts to an aesthetically similar scene in 1998’s Rushmore; a shot of her walking through the streets of Singapore cuts to a similar scene in 2001’s Ghost World. It made me cry; I couldn’t help but wonder how different the film industry would be if an Asian teenager’s undeniably innovative film didn’t go missing, and I got so angry for living in a world where Shirkers the movie never found its way to cinemas. It made me realize that as a young Asian female creative, I would rather drop dead than let an older man touch my work. When you’re a teenager creating, it’s inevitable that who you are bleeds into the art you make—the work of young people very often are intimate and personal, and having an older man—your literal antithesis—get all up in your creative space—your safe space—is purely devastating. While I mourn for never seeing Shirkers the movie, I’m grateful for the existence of Shirkers the documentary, a personal reflection on art, our relationship to it, and the importance of paying attention to the teenage lens.

A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships - The 1975 (Album)
Any album that includes the lines, “Rest in peace Lil Peep/ The poetry is in the streets/ Jesus save us/ Modernity has failed us” is bound to be one of my favorites. The 1975 have always brought me comfort, each song coming pre-packaged with a hyper-specific feeling that makes their music so atmospheric and palpable, I could almost touch it. I found myself listening to them more when I went away for college; at first because they were something familiar—and at a time when everything was changing, I clung to anything familiar—but over time I managed to make myself a little home within their iconic riffs, and their new album has been accompanying me as I try to navigate my new daunting life. Hearing the opening to "I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)" for the first time (“I bet you thought your life would change/ But you’re sat on a train again”) while sitting on a bus on my way home, contemplating whether living in the city was actually as romantic as I’d imagined it would be, cemented The 1975’s title as my favorite band ever.

"The Year of Emotions,  feat. Lorde" - Rookie Podcast Episode #1
When Tavi Gevinson, founder and editor-in-chief of Rookie Magazine, announced that Rookie would no longer be publishing any new content, I felt like my world had fallen to pieces. I know I’m not alone in saying discovering Rookie and proceeding to spend so many nights scrolling through it felt nothing short of liberation—I no longer felt like I was alone in going through the disorienting years of teenhood, and it was extremely validating to have so many people my age express themselves and what they feel and think. Since the announcement, I keep coming back to the first episode of their podcast, where Tavi interviewed Lorde about growing up, her songwriting process, and her then newly released single "Green Light." It was enlightening, deeply personal, and exonerating, even. Lorde never fails to make me feel heard, and this time is no different (when she talked about always making herself small because she was too tall and her voice was always booming—I felt that, my dudes).

Burning (Film)
Lee Chang-dong’s first movie in eight years, Burning, is what I like to call the movie equivalent of the lines “I would die for you”; “then perish.” It’s a psychological thriller that happens in slow-motion, building tension from the ground up in a way that’s both frustrating and rewarding; implosive, with an ending that I definitely did not see coming but somehow knew would happen. And Steven Yeun, man—a beguiling performance that I could not get off my mind. I was lucky enough to see this film in a local film festival last October, and I find myself still recounting scenes in my head. Aptly enough, it gets better the more I think about it.

Enigma Variations - Andre Aciman (Novel)
Call Me by Your Name author Andre Aciman is back with another literary heartbreak written so lovingly that reading it almost makes you drunk. A love letter to love itself, Enigma Variations is a collection of five love stories—both mutual and unrequited—centering around one person. Below is an excerpt from my favorite chapter, Manfred:
Occasionally, you’ll say “Excuse me” when I happen to stand in your way, and “Thank you” when your ball drifts into my court and I hurl it back to you. With these few words, I find comfort in false hopes and hope in false starts. I’ll coddle anything instead of nothing. Even thinking that nothing can come of nothing gives me a leg to stand on, something to consider when I wake up in the middle of the night and can see nothing, not the blackout in my life, not the screen, not the cellar, not even hope and false comforts—just the joy of your imagined limb touching mine. I prefer the illusion of perpetual fasting to the certainty of famine. I have, I think, what’s called a broken heart.
One of the main reasons I'm so fond of Aciman's writing is because of the way he speaks about unrequited love. He approaches the subject and chooses his words so tenderly that you can clearly see he doesn't see this kind of love as pathetic, as most writers—or most people—would; in fact, he deems unreturned love as more exhilarating, more heartbreaking, more damning because of the fact that it's unreturned. This was beautifully exhibited in Elio Perlman, and is seen even more extensively in his latest effort. So if you loved his writing in CMBYN, I cannot recommend his newest tale of love and loss enough.

Mindhunter (TV series)
Filmmaker David Fincher has me wrapped around his finger and I am not complaining. His movies never fail to find their way into my favorites (all you The Social Network stans out there, let me hear you say “I’m sorry my Prada’s at the cleaners!”), so I was more than elated when I found out he produced a Netflix show set in the 70s called Mindhunter, which, in true Fincher fashion, is about two FBI agents and a psychologist who interview serial killers in an attempt to understand and profile them. It’s more of a character study than a plot-driven story, with majority of the runtime dedicated to these interviews and our protagonists talking about them, but the fact that the show relies on dialogue so much is what makes it such a gripping watch—all the criminal acts, albeit extremely atrocious, all happen off-cam, and we get to spend so much time with these murderers, but we never see them kill—it humanizes them, creating a sense of revulsion in the audience that sticks longer and digs deeper. And I know I’m totally super biased, loving a show about the behavioral science unit of the FBI when I’m a behavioral science major myself, but hearing the characters analyze the interviews is absolutely fascinating and something I couldn’t get enough of. Imagine 2015’s Best Picture Oscar winner Spotlight, but with Fincher’s signature dark visuals and rich pace, and you get this underrated masterpiece (that you can stream in Netflix right nooow!). Getting to hear them come up with the phrase ‘serial killer’ gave me chills and should be enough to convince you to get started on this show.

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