A video bloggers’ love triangle from the creator of Palo Alto.
The digital world spills over into the real one with catastrophic consequences in Gia Coppola’s second feature, a tragicomedy about the financial rise and moral collapse of three video bloggers. Mainstream premiered at the 2020 Venice Film Festival, where it was nominated for the main prize in the Horizons sections.
The culmination of Gia Coppola’s many years’ reflection on the impact of online culture on today’s youth, Mainstream was created in close collaboration with actor Andrew Garfield, who can rightfully be considered Coppola’s co-writer. Drawing on the expressive character of Prior Walter from the theatrical production of Angels in America, which won him the Tony Award, in Mainstream, Garfield plays the antagonist Link—a charismatic and amoral psychopath. According to Coppola, his uninhibited, somewhat improvised acting was largely inspired by the on-screen frenzy of her uncle, Nicolas Cage. Among other sources of inspiration, she names Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd (1957) about the radio industry, of which Mainstream is a free remake in the era of video services and social networks. In a sense, it even embraces the entire history of cinematography: captions from silent films, the scenography of the 1970s TV quiz shows and post-Internet aesthetics; keen satire on the media world depicted in Sidney Lumet’s Network (1976) and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia (1999), as well as on fame and boredom in Los Angeles from Somewhere (2010) and The Bling Ring (2013) by Sofia Coppola, Gia’s aunt, whose work the latter is openly inspired by.
For the production of Mainstream, Coppola was joined by most of her Palo Alto cinematic family, including cinematographer Autumn Durald, editor Glen Scantlebury and composer Dev Hynes, better known for his Blood Orange project. Nat Wolff, who played the erratic teenager Fred in Gia’s debut, here takes the contrasting role of the emotional anchor, musician and screenwriter Jake. The director, who has introduced many new faces, including Margaret Qualley and Jack Kilmer, has also brought together an impressive cast of young stars in Mainstream, starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman’s daughter, Maya Hawke, known for the third season of Stranger Things. Alexa Demie from Euphoria, bloggers Juanpa and Jake Paul, and popular make-up artists Patrick Starrr and Desmond is Amazing make appearances in secondary and episodic roles.
The film will be screened in English with Russian subtitles.
Dir. Gia Coppola
USA, 2020. 94 minutes 18+