April 28, 2012 2:58 PM   Subscribe

What are the movie equivalents of shoegaze music?

There are movie equivalents for al sorts of music genres - there are movies that obviously and intentionally make you think of "punk", "no-wave", "hip-hop", "minimalism", and so forth. Whether they were created in the milieu of the pioneers of that scene, or feature the music prominently in the soundtrack, or obliquely bring to mind the same feeling and atmosphere you get when you hear the music.

When I think of the most powerful and moving "shoegaze" music and touchpoints, though - My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Jesus and Mary Chain, Ride, Chapterhouse and so forth - to the modern equivalents like Spiritualized, M83, Radio Dept., Jesu - I can't really think of many films that were clearly influenced by or obliquely recall this form of music.

Some of the closest things I can think of are Lost In Translation (prominently features My Bloody Valentine, J&MC and Kevin Shields), and in an abstract way, All About Lily Chou-Chou. What are some others?
posted by naju to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Featuring the music is one thing, being its mood equivalent is another. For the former, one soundtrack I do remember featuring Jesus & Mary Chain is The Crow. For the latter, Paranoid Park comes to mind. One of the imdb commenters refers to the mood as "slow, dreamy reverie," though that music doesn't show up on the soundtrack.
posted by salvia at 3:08 PM on April 28, 2012

Best answer: Mumblecore is often considered the cinematic equivalent, though I don't think it's a neat comparison.
posted by holgate at 3:11 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind doesn't have any shoegaze in the soundtrack, but that's the first movie I thought of. Drive is another one.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 3:25 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Truman Show is a pretty good match in my mind. Just with a couple of random pieces put together, I kind of get a harmonic vibe, even if it's not really symmetric: Doubled-up example
posted by circular at 3:47 PM on April 28, 2012

I thought of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as well. Also, anything vignette-like or with an ethereal sense to it, too...e.g., Coffee and Cigarettes, American Beauty, Magnolia, Requiem for a Dream, Vanilla Sky.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:49 PM on April 28, 2012

Have you seen Todd Haynes' Safe?
posted by deathpanels at 3:57 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Punch-Drunk Love

Movies by Michael Mann -- Heat, Collateral, Thief, etc.

Movies that used Tangerine Dream on the soundtrack.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:57 PM on April 28, 2012

Best answer: I would think that experimental videos that play with visual feedback and glitching would fit in pretty neatly with Shoegaze's abundance of auditory feedback and weird soundscapes. I'm struggling to come up with a good example at the moment though -- Some of Brakhage's more abstract stuff, maybe?
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 4:10 PM on April 28, 2012

Response by poster: I'm struggling to come up with a good example at the moment though -- Some of Brakhage's more abstract stuff, maybe?

Totally, I was going to bring up Dog Star Man.
posted by naju at 4:12 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I wouldn't consider any Mann films, the Truman show or Drive as having an aesthetic likened to shoegaze, those films are all too slick, too shiny and with too straightforward a narrative. Drive in particular has a style influence by a particular style of music, which is very evident in the soundtrack and the rejected soundtrack that Johnny Jewel made for it

I'd go with sixties Godard films like Week End and Pierrot Le Fou for the same sort of dreamy, disconnected feeling you get when listening to shoegaze. Godard did interesting and perhaps revolutionary things with the camera in the same way that Kevin Shields did with a guitar on Loveless. The fact that it's all in French has a similar effect to the unintelligible vocals of many shoegaze releases too!

For a more modern shoegaze style Sofia Coppola films are probably closest, particularly Somewhere and Lost in Translation.
posted by blaisedell at 4:17 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The films of Wong Kar-Wai come to mind, especially Chungking Express (though it features "California Dreamin'" prominently) and My Blueberry Nights.
posted by carrienation at 4:20 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

seconding lost in translation.
posted by facetious at 4:27 PM on April 28, 2012

Best answer: Try the early films of David Gordon Green, particularly George Washington and Snow Angels. To a lesser extent, All the Real Girls and Undertow.

And I'll second Paranoid Park.

Also, I think mumblecore is a fairly apt analogy since quite a few films considered to be in that genre were shot on video and look pretty cheaply done.
posted by dogwalker at 4:53 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Waking Life, perhaps?
posted by smirkette at 5:40 PM on April 28, 2012

Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man has the weirdness, vastness and dreamy feel of a lot of shoegazer music, although it has a grimness about it too which I don't really associate with shoegaze.
posted by sleep_walker at 9:17 PM on April 28, 2012

Yes, Dead Man might be worth checking out if you like Neil Young riffs and imagery of the sort found here and here (let that second link get to at least 1:00 or so to get past the clean strumming). I second that the ominous overtones and the western imagery may not be an exact fit.
posted by salvia at 10:22 PM on April 28, 2012

Garden State, perhaps? Or is that more "emo"?
posted by ShutterBun at 3:52 AM on April 29, 2012

Wim Wenders? Wings of Desire and Paris, Texas have that dreamy emptiness thing going on
posted by brilliantmistake at 3:59 AM on April 29, 2012

Best answer: Michelangelo Antonioni, such as The Passenger or Zabriskie Point.
posted by rhizome at 8:59 AM on April 29, 2012

Maybe his Red Desert, as well -- but defintely Zabriskie Point.
posted by Rash at 9:15 AM on April 29, 2012

What a great question. The movie equivalent for me would be those films that are about experiencing rather than thinking. I came in to add Waking Life too and Lost in Translation. Maybe Before Sunset?
posted by freya_lamb at 9:49 AM on April 29, 2012

My first thought was Wings of Desire too for atmosphere similarity though it does feature a cameo by Nick Cave and he ain't very shoegaze!
posted by merocet at 9:55 AM on April 29, 2012

Mumblecore is the filmic equivalent of Anti-folk though, so probably not that.

It's definitely something where emotions run high but hidden under the surface of noise and static imagery. I think Cache fits this bill for me.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:30 AM on April 29, 2012

Best answer: The soundtracks of Hal Hartley's films from the 1990s prominently feature shoegaze-y music. I'm having trouble coming up with actual soundtrack listings for films of his other than Amateur (1994) for some reason, but that one's pretty representative — My Bloody Valentine, Yo La Tengo, Red House Painters, Pavement at their most downbeat, and some harder/poppier stuff too.

I don't know much about Hartley's biography, but watching his films gives the sense that he was pretty immersed in the milieu of the independent culture scene that produced both "independent cinema" and "independent music".

Also, he is great and strangely forgotten for someone who's still working. I recommend Trust and Amateur to start with, but because of the music-zeitgeist connection you might also be interested in The Book of Life, which stars PJ Harvey.
posted by bubukaba at 11:06 AM on April 29, 2012

Donnie Darko was the first thing that occurred to me. Possibly because the real meaning of the film is hidden beneath layers of misdirection and the film floats along towards something but you're never really sure wht it is.
posted by minifigs at 6:06 AM on April 30, 2012
posted by mysticreferee at 9:09 AM on May 17, 2012

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