The Miracles of the Web

As memory has it at, I went to a lightly-attended film festival of black-and-white, experimental works in the early ’90s, while finishing up school in London. The short feature that really grabbed my attention was called “Another Girl Another Planet,” directed by Michael Almereyda and named after a song by The Only Ones. The film’s compressed-by-Pixelvision look, story about 20-something romantic ennui and, if honest, presence of actress Elina Lowensohn conspired to hook me. A tricky journey to find my own copy of the film followed.

In time, I’d find it in a box of tapes submitted for inclusion in my hometown film festival, but that only came after some obsessive, pre-Internet searches that eventually had me on the line with Almereyda, who was editing another film when I reached him by phone; as awkward calls go, that was one of them. While he didn’t ship the tape to his annoying superfan, as promised (said only to get rid of me, I’m sure), the quick conversation with him and the discovery of the tape in that big, ol’ box of lightly-marked VHS tapes cemented the movie in my mind. If not my favorite film, per se, it became the most-important and I’m not sure that it’ll be bounced out of that slot, ever.

Over the next decade-and-change, I’d watch the tape at least 20 times; the short, sub-hour film’s dialogue becoming so well-known to me that watching it was becoming less of a joy, my brain moving more into autopilot with each view. An ill-timed loan, though, caused that tape to move into a second life of being lost-to-me. It’s been four years since watching “Another Girl,” though that’ll change this weekend.

Inserting myself into a conversation about VHS tapes at the bar, I talked about the movie, how I’d lost in the tape in a friend breakup, how I’d searched for it on different forums with no luck. Within about three-minutes, one of the folks in that discussion asked, “is it about 55-minutes?” “Yeah, why?” “It’s on YouTube.” Simple as that. What was lost had been found.

The discussion, from there, veered into all sorts of threads about the worth of things, how everything will end up in the public domain eventually, and how the notions of ownership are being (re)shaped regularly. Those are all worthwhile, thoughtful conversations, but I’ve gone on too long already. (And the spirit of “Another Girl” is brevity, after all.)

There are not one, but two uploads of “Another Girl Another Planet,” available on YouTube today, Wednesday, July 26. I won’t assume them to be there forever and look forward to uploading it to my personal entertainment microchip in a few years.

 

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