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Sun Don't Shine

Monday 8/31/20

I saw a film called Sun Don't Shine, directed by Amy Seimetz, starring Kate Lyn Sheil and Kentucker Audley, which I hadn't seen before. It's very good--a tight short story in film form. Downright Chekhovian, but in Florida. The final two words are perfect. It's mostly a perfect film. But the ending is powerhouse and real. A man and a woman--young couple--are driving in Florida. Stress levels are high. They've done something, are doing something, and are trying not to get caught. As we learn, the woman killed her husband. She says that he abused her, so one night she stabs him. Excellent writing the way that action is described/remembered.

She's both a reliable narrator and not a reliable narrator. She might be telling the truth, she might not be. She speaks about how she never had bruises but she wished she did, so she could show people. The young man is the person she was having an affair with. The body of the husband is in the trunk of the car. They're trying to find a way to get rid of it. The story is a two-person narrative, with three other characters interceding. There's a man on a highway who offers to help--one of those people who won't take no for an answer, even when they're trying to be a good person--when the radiator of the car overheats. There's a female friend of the man whose house the duo are driving to, as if there will be some solution there. It's not a good plan--it's an aimless plan, the plan that comes when you're not thinking straight. When pressure and stress has comprised your reason. And then there is a work at a business that rents canoes, which is closed. The writing is so economical in this scene. Honestly really strong. That's how you do dialogue. Such a sad film. Sad in this sunshine. I had no idea that last line was coming. Completely unpredictable, but perfect. This film and Mysterious Skin are easily the two best works of cinema I've seen recently that I had not seen before.

Right now I'm desperately trying to get money--things just keep getting worse--and I'm proofing Brackets for Dzanc because if I don't get it in in the next little bit, the pub. date will have to be pushed back, and I'm also re-reading "Fitty," because I need to know that there is not one single thing off with it, not so much as a comma or a word choice, because I know I have not written anything more powerful. In fact, out of everything I've ever written in my life, it's my personal favorite. When I was walking on Saturday, I had occasion to think about the end--there was some back-and-forth with a Harper's editor that was off to me--and even at that remove, just thinking about it, I found it emotionally overwhelming. I wanted to hug both Fitty and Carlene, and I'm not some huggy-huggy guy.


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