Directed and Written by: #JordanBlady
Softness of Bodies, from writer/director Jordan Blady, is an unsettlingly satisfying look at the life of a deeply unpleasant individual. The narrative follows Charlotte (Dasha Nekrasova), a narcissistic kleptomaniac attempting life as a poet in Berlin. She steals everything she can, including the clothes she wears, the poems she recites, and even the hearts of the men around her. Her many, and often self-inflicted, problems threaten her delicate existence as a struggling artist abroad. Its captivating stuff and its hard not to be enthralled by Charlotte’s continuing self-destruction as she faces confrontation from a rival poet, her lover’s girlfriend, and the German police, all while struggling both financially and artistically.
It’s a story that could easily have been unbearable. A character this unpleasant causing this much misery to herself and those around her is not normally something you’d expect audiences to engage with. However, when done well it can work beautifully; just look at the recent example of the brilliantly repulsive Roy family in Succession. In the case of Softness of Bodies, it all works thanks to Jordan Blady’s solid writing as well as a commanding performance by Dasha Nekrasova. Having said this however, Blady’s script does suffer from the occasional weaker moment as slightly forced lines of dialogue do stand out. The poetry itself is of a decent standard, which makes it both enjoyable to listen to, but manages to avoid the all too common trap of a fictional artist’s work not being near the standard the film makes it out to be.
Nekrasova is superbly supported and complemented by the rest of the cast. Morgan Krantz is particularly strong and possess the look and feel of a young Sam Rockwell. Nadine Dubois and Johannes Frick also deliver well-rounded performances as Charlotte’s poetry rival and housemate respectively.
The film is shot well with occasional moments of brilliance. The use of focus is a particular high point. Cinematographer Christian Huck does a fantastic job at capturing the feeling of Berlin on screen, from the dingy apartments of struggling artists to the understated glamour of late-night poetry readings. The visuals are further enhanced by the score, an interesting and atmospheric work by Aaron Short which feels modern but still possess some sinister underpinnings in its discordant beats.
Softness of Bodies is a riveting watch, right from its intriguing opening all the way to the dramatic finale. The narcissistic world of Charlotte Parks is far from pleasant, yet at the hands of Jordan Blady, it becomes disturbingly fascinating. With a delightful runtime of just 74 minutes, Softness of Bodies is a worthwhile trip into a world of poetry and self-obsession. A cracking film.
Softness of Bodies will be available to watch for free on Amazon Prime from February 14th.