A first for SMReviews which I am incredibly excited to share with you all. As well as reviewing Softness of Bodies, I also had the opportunity to interview the film’s director Jordan Blady. What follows is that very interview. You can find the link to watch Softness of Bodies at the end of the interview.
Hi Jordan. First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, I have seen Softness of Bodies which I believe will make for an interesting and fair review. I often try to avoid story spoilers as much as I can, so without giving too much away, could you briefly explain the premise of Softness of Bodies?
It’s my pleasure, thanks for watching the film and taking the time to write a review. I see SOB as a study of a character indulging in a type of contemporary narcissism. That sounds somewhat pretentious but that’s honestly what I tried to do, as well as make it occasionally funny. Story wise, Charlie is a poet participating in one section of the Berlin art scene who becomes a finalist for a prestigious grant… The narrative follows the obstacles that stand in her way.
Can you please go into detail as to how the idea for Softness of Bodies came about?
Surely. I spent two years on and off in Berlin and in certain ways this film is a reflection on that. When I came back to Los Angeles I met Dasha at an art opening, and the character became a fusion of my experiences and what I love and admire about Dasha. Being a writer herself we used her original poems in the film which added another dimension to the character I could create on my own. During my time in Berlin I made a short film called Syllables, which isn’t exactly a precursor to this film but certainly touches on similar themes of exile in a foreign place, and the idea of poetry in a contemporary setting. Dasha even has a cameo in it.
Could you explain a little about if there were any films that you looked to for inspiration whilst developing Softness of Bodies and how they were influential?
It’s hard to answer that question because anything I do is kind of an amalgamation of all the films I love and the result is a terrible attempt to replicate them. Suffice to say in this case I was thinking a lot about Party Girl with Parker Posey.
Having come from a filmmaking background myself, I understand how important it is to have everyone on board with what the film is trying to say, what was working on set like and how motivated were the crew to see this project come into existence with your ideas and concepts?
I have to say the crew was incredible every step of the way… Being that you’re from a filmmaking background, I’m sure you’d agree that one cannot emphasize enough how nothing you are without your team… It’s just the way it is… I owe them everything… Down to every single PA. I’d have to give a special shout out to my close friend and DOP Christian Huck… We’ve been collaborating since Syllables in Berlin and he’s been an essential component to all the projects we’ve worked on together, both on and off set. Also, producers Jelena Goldbach and Catherine Morowitz for taking on a project there definitely wasn’t enough money for and just making it work.
I read recently that you and Dasha (who plays the film’s lead Charlie) have been friends for two years, what was it like to work with her professionally along with the rest of the cast? Was there much of a difference?
It was great. Dasha is a pro and it’s always a comfort to have people you love around you when you’re working.
I’d like to move on to more about the film itself, without going into big spoiler territory. A major aspect of the film that my readers may not know is the artistic side to the story. You seem to explore the expression of art, predominantly in poetry, as well as the psyche of a creative person. Is this somehow a way of putting a piece of yourself into the film? Are you fond of the art world?
Hahaha. Oy… What a question. In very generic terms, yes, I am a fan of the art world and I’ve absolutely indulged in the community of this world without defining myself as a fine artist. I guess in general I struggle with the commodifying of any artistic expression while at the same time trying to not take a firm stand against capitalism… Even Marx found some value in it. I chose poetry as the medium because I think as a contemporary art form I find it to be one of the most, if not the most, social media un-friendly. Text based and better listened to live, I really admire those who continue this practice because I honestly love it. In terms of the creative process, I think it’s a fascinating thing to examine because it seems to be, at least in certain respects, completely unique to everyone… There are so many books on how to write for instance, and even though there’s so much great advice to help you on that path, they all basically attempt the same thing, which is get you comfortable with whatever your unique process is going to be. To get technical, SOB definitely focuses on sublimation and Dasha’s process for writing her poems… All of that is certainly intentional… I don’t think I can say anymore without giving something away.
I tried to find the poetry used in the film, but I couldn’t find them on the internet, were they original works?
Original! Dasha wrote most of them, I wrote Nathan’s poem, and a talented young poet named Alizee Lenox wrote Sylvie’s first poem.
I was intrigued by the choice of setting in Softness of Bodies as it takes place in Berlin, a well know city steeped in amazing bohemian art and culture like many European cities. Was Berlin always your intended setting or were there other places in contention?
It was always Berlin. In my mind, Berlin is as much a character as anyone else in the film, and I did my best to portray a version of the Berlin I knew when I was there.
Finally, could you give us a little note about why my readers should watch this film and when they can watch it?
Yikes. Well they can definitely watch Softness of Bodies on Amazon and other VOD platforms starting April 30, 2019. Why should they watch it… I don’t know lol. I’ll say this… I did my best with this film to say something about contemporary narcissism and occasionally make the audience laugh… If that’s of interest to you, as well as watching some fantastic performances, then give a shot and see what you think.
Once again, thank you to Rock Salt Releasing and Jordan Blady for this opportunity, for which I am grateful.
Softness of Bodies is available on Amazon, InDemand, Vimeo on Demand, DirecTV, FlixFling, Vudu, FANDANGO, Hoopla and Slight/Dish.