I remember when I watched Some Girls (1988) the first time. I was a teenager still living with my parents. A new TV channel had started, I can't remember the name of it, and in the beginning it would only show the same movie every night for a week's time. That was it, there were no other programs, just empty space. The Reflecting Skin (1990), Big Night (1996) and Some Girls (1988) were some of titles. In my room I had a small black and white TV-set, our old caravan TV, that I treasured. My favourite programs were cooking shows since all food in black and white looks the same and absolutely disgusting.
The one movie every night for a week concept, had a strange effect on me. I would actually follow through and do just that, watch the same movie over and over at the appointed time. It was tedious and mesmerizing.
It took a lot of searching to find Some Girls again. I didn't remember the title or any of the actors, over all my memories though vivid were jumbled. I remembered a big castle, white snow, barren trees and a pitch black sky, a young woman with long dark hair running out into the snow and a guy following her. And sisters, like captive princesses, hiding in the shadows. I also remembered how ludicrous I thought the mix of 80' teen college comedy and mysterious, high strung, symbol charged pretension (for lack of better word) was. I labelled it poor taste, and liked it.
Since then I've re watched it twice, and I feel the same way. I like that the makers set the bar high and went for it, although they didn't reach the whole way. Merging these two concepts, the 80's comedy with roots in the 40's screw ball movies with more serious, theatrical drama, is tricky. What ultimately saves the movie for me are the two houses, the main house and the summer house, and Lila Kedrova as Granny. Until she tricks her family into losing themselves in the deep dark forest, the movie is getting a little tedious, the classic mix up / romance / sex / frustration / beautiful women / male gaze comedy, albeit in an unusual setting. With her lovely, heart breaking performance, as a once little girl who grew old, lost all and the grasp of the world, she saves it. With her comes death, the aging body, the old world and so eternity. Her lines are simple, but she charges them with meaning. She and Patrick Dempsey are magic together, and he can take a break from falling on his butt.
Back to the houses! I do believe settings can be as important as the stars, and Suspiria (1977) would be as little without its dance school as Some Girls would be without the two houses. Over all, the buildings remind of each other quite a lot, the biggest difference being that the dance school in Suspiria is colourful - red! blue! yellow! - whereas the two houses in Some Girls are in muted browns and purples, torn and frayed.
Dark, carved Art Noveau doors:
Trinkets and symbols: