A few hours ago, I watched a 2007 American indie film called In Search of a Midnight Kiss. It is a black-and-white romance set in L.A., and shares many similarities with Woody Allen’s masterpiece Manhattan. In Manhattan, Allen uses Gershwin’s bold music to paint his beloved city, but In Search of a Midnight Kiss uses soft music as a reminder of the quiter, more innocent strangers who walk the streets of a place generally thought of as containing unemployed actors. There is one song that really stood out, and I had never heard of it before, but I tracked it down as soon as the film was finished. It is called ‘My Good Deed’, and is by Shearwater, otherwise known as a side-project for Okkervil River.
There is a certain scene when the two protagonists run out of a house together, running away from her violent ex-boyfriend, and they are laughing. Instead of being terrified, they have fun, and then they stop, before he says that they should continue just in case. But really, he’s just having fun and wants to elongate the moment. And then this song starts playing, and it fits the moment perfectly, from its first few lines:
i tried to save a girl i truly loved
and didn’t quite know how to help her
I am endlessly fascinated by films that portray romances between two people who end up together just because ‘it happens’ and they have nothing else to do, and this film somehow managed to be honest about that situation, yet romanticising it at the same time. And I think it’s mainly down to the combination of the black-and-white direction and a soundtrack of acoustic tragedy.