A (generic) surf film review.

I was looking through the mess on my noticeboard today, and found three hand scrawled* pages pinned up behind a photograph. I knew exactly what they were - they were notes I sat and wrote on the back of some flyers after watching a surf film showing some time ago. I'm going to share the notes with you, but I'm not going to tell you which surf film it is, as I don't really think it matters. In the end, reading over my thoughts, I think they are pretty generic to many of the surf films I have seen (although there are, of course, some excellent exceptions to this rule).

I do want to say that the imagery and sounds in the film that I prompted these notes were beautiful and thoughtful, and that I'd had a particularly confusing conversation that day, so was feeling a bit raw and I remember both the images of water and the music affecting me in ways I wasn't expecting in terms of my responses. I think I cried. But even that, even that could not hide the fact that it was, in the end, just like every other surf film. Only prettier.

Anyway, here it is...

A generic surf film review,
scrawled hastily by Rebecca Olive, as she quaffed** a glass of wine.
Sometimes, my heart breaks. The rifts that already exist are revealed in voices, sounds, images and ideas. Creative yearnings and aspirations find their way in and through, and it hurts. And then, my heart finds itself again. It slowly clasps itself, like a fist closing. Then there is space to think, to see and to know.
What I see is nothing new.
What I see is enchanting, enthralling, mesmerising but it is nothing new. It is the same people, ideas, waves and perspectives. It is the same talk. The same crew. Stories of manhood, fighting for a place, losing yourself. Playing, enjoying, knowing. There was nothing new. MP and Dora are pointed out and highlighted. They are already recognisable, but are identified to make sure that I know I should be impressed, dazzled.

I'm not.

This is a film by and about men. Of course. The women are invisible at best, window dressing at worst; appearing as ethereal or pink-clad visions. They are, it seems, there, but they just sit still and don't surf.
I hate that the obviousness of their invisibility irks me so, and that it precludes my pure enjoyment. In the end, I find it hard to lose myself within and amongst The Boys. Find it hard to know where and how I fit. I suppose it's because I wonder if I do at all? Or if I ever will? That is, if I am honest, my last hope.

*If you have ever had the challenge of deciphering my handwriting, you will have some idea of what I mean.

**Please enjoy this excellent definition of 'quaff' - to drink a beverage, especially an intoxicating one, copiously and with hearty enjoyment. with hearty enjoyment.


  1. inspired scribbling Rebecca - could almost see the red wine stains - spot on observations. Surfing, with or without the hagiography or even the sexism is just such a weirdly excluding and seducing thing - so much of it feels like looking over a high wall at others enjoying themselves while at the same time you know deep down you get the exact same buzz as they do every time you get a chance to head out for a surf and flop around in the mush. Thanks for posting your notes.

  2. Ha! Yep. I would have scrawled something different, prolly with more cussing, but yep...

  3. Thanks for your comments you guys.

    They are actually heartening, because I really wasn't sure if I should post those notes or not. It's hard to express the complexities of the responses I feel to these kinds of things - films, art, photos, etc, and the cultural role they play - so I'm stoked to know they made sense.

    So thanks!

  4. Anonymous8:05 PM

    you're an idiot.

  5. Haha - fair enough.

    But why is it that the insulting comments are always shrouded in anonymity? Hmmm...


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