Down Time is a Jezebel series in which we ask our favorite artists and authors what art, books, and activities they’re turning to in this moment of isolation and uncertainty. Musician and one half of the band 100 gecs Laura Les tells us about the movie she can’t stop rewatching.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
I have a new favorite movie that I have been watching and rewatching for the last week, recommended by my friend, [the artist] Bean Boy. It’s called Mind Game by Masaaki Yuasa. It’s such an amalgamation of influences that are just smashed together in a messy, beautiful way. It’s super inspiring [to watch] after just being in my room, banging my head against the wall, trying to write and dealing with [the] pressure to do certain things. It’s nice to see something that’s so inspired and has so many ideas.
Mind Game is about this guy who draws manga, but he gets killed. God humiliates him, tells him he died a pathetic death, and to go fade away. But he runs and fights to come back to life. He becomes very inspired and decides he wants to live. And then there’s this car chase, and he ends up inside a whale, and the whole second half [of the movie] is him trying to figure out how to get out of this whale. He could live in the whale for awhile, but he needs to get out and live in the wider world. People shouldn’t be fighting to get out of their house or anything right now, but the movie resonates in a certain way.
We’re looking at the next full [100 gecs] project. After [the first record], the biggest success of my life, there is a certain pressure like, “Now do it again, but better.” [Laughs] When [my bandmate] Dylan and I were making the first album, it was from a place of taking all these things and putting them together as a celebration. Mind Game takes paintings, performance, and so many different visual styles and music; there’s a whole scene that’s like Fantasia set to classical music that’s amazing. I’ve heard from people that they think it’s sort of abrasive in that there are so many things happening. But the movie has helped me get out of mind, like “oh we should write a song that sounds like this,” and try to get back to just having fun throwing things into the blender.