You Wont Miss Me
Directed by Ry Russo-Young
Ry Russo-Young and star-cowriter Stella "Yes, daughter of Julian" Schnabel scorch some familiar ground with their emerging sensibilities in You Wont Miss Me (not a typo). Working mostly from character outlines (in Schnabel's case, a series of recorded in-character interviews—like Mike Leigh without the anthropological distance— which play as voiceovers), they trace one Shelly Brown's (Schnabel) trajectory of meaningless hookups, shaky-cam NYC wintertime revelries and bleary beers with scruffy, sometimes naked young artists and indie rockers in dingy apartments in expensive neighborhoods (or vice versa).
It'd be easy for anyone eager to use the new coinage "Cinema of Unexamined Privilege" in a sentence to note Russo-Young's collaborations with Swanberg and Dunham, or the fact that Shelly is an actress without gigs but with a family cabin upstate to crash at. But there is, in scenes of Shelly auditioning for plays, indie films and "multimedia" productions, a caustic examination of the current lo-fi movement and the depth of the emotional nakedness its auteurs are in the habit of soliciting from their friends: doing improv exercises for a film, raw-to-bleeding Shelly blows mumblecore darling Greta Gerwig off the screen with a tantrum held over from an earlier scene, prompting a lecture, from director Aaron Katz, about the separation of art and life. (More unexamined, actually, is the film's use of sex and especially same-sex sex as a photogenic symptom of malaise.)
Russo-Young shuffles chronology with an almost musical variation-and-return structure, and muddles together a palette of film and video formats: it's a Cubist character portrait, made more so by Schnabel's striking features—cascading hair, wide face, deep eyes, hawk nose—and shapeshifting intensity, from vamp to victim, pathos to bathos.
Opens December 10