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I should begin this cinematic musing with a small handful of disclaimers. Firstly, I have not seen the film I am about to wax lyrical about, but that’s only because of the second particular, which is that despite having hunted high and low, I could not, not anywhere, find wide release dates for Untogether (that’s its name, said film—Untogether). So, you know, someone should maybe get on that. And thirdly, I have long harboured a mooning kind of admiration for Emma Forrest—she who is not only the writer of Untogether but also the director—and so I may be a little biased in my eager anticipation of her cinematic foray.

via @untogethermovie / twitter.

Untogether, which is also Forrest’s directorial debut, tells the story of Andrea (Jemima Kirke), a recently sober writer whose career has stalled since she published her debut novel several years ago. She strikes up an affair with Nick (Jamie Dornan), a doctor-turned-writer who is hailed for his wartime memoir. At the same time, her sister Tara (Lola Kirke), a massage therapist dating an ageing rockstar (Ben Mendelsohn), finds herself inexorably drawn to a newfound religious zeal and, particularly, to a politically engaged rabbi (Billy Crystal).

Now, seeing as I haven’t actually managed yet to lay eyes on the movie (although, it’s not for lack of want), I obviously can’t put forward a review. But what I can do is offer you a score of good reasons to tack on to the already alluring synopsis, the ultra-talented cast, and Emma Forrest’s track record for composing text which is as melancholic as it is illuminating.

During the press blitz that came after the film’s Tribeca premiere screening, Forrest had this to say about the lens through which Untogether was focused and shot:

“It’s a female gaze film — it’s like, even where I shoot Ben, I was really careful to show what a beautiful neck he has. Because that’s the sort of thing we notice on men like, ‘oh, what a lovely strong neck.’ And his hands,” she continues. “You notice things like that in the men you’re drawn to.” — Emma Forest, speaking with wwd.com

Let’s think about that for a minute—when was the last time you watched a movie and thought: 'Yes, that is how I see the world'. I can’t remember the last time, personally. I know that I watch cinema and find myself thinking, and other times wishing, that my world looked more like the one being projected onto the screen; but I’m not sure I’ve had the pleasure of watching with familiarity someone managing to capture the way I see things and feel and experience them.

That is, of course, why diversity in art is important—because no amount of understanding can replicate the experience of knowing. A man can’t know the intricacies of the female gaze, because it’s not his to know. And so the way we get to see and experience that on a screen is by supporting the women who want and hope to share their vision with us.

And speaking of supporting women creatives—that’s another thing to add to the list of things Untogether does very, very well. Not quite half of the listed crew for the film is female, and the majority of the principal crew—including the cinematographer, editor, art director, costume designer, and production designer—are all women.

So, what we know of Untogether is that it’s a highly personal film fostered into being by an incredibly talented writer, one who used the platform of her debut film to champion the stories of women, told through the lens of the gaze of women, and created together with a crew made up many female filmmakers and crew members.

All in all, I’d say that’s more than just a few good reasons to get out and see Untogether when it pops up near you.


Words | Erin Stobie
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