Desperately Seeking Something: A Memoir About Movies, Mothers, and Material Girls

St. Martin’s. Jun. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9781250328212. $30. MEMOIR
Movie director Seidelman’s memoir, with a title referencing her smash-hit 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan, is a breezy read about her life from childhood through the present day. Most of the narrative takes place in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s. That’s when Seidelman attended film school and started making feature films, at a time when few women were directing movies. Her films focused on unconventional women expressing themselves and their autonomy, a theme that carried through 1982’s punk flick Smithereens (the first U.S. indie film to compete at Cannes) and the Seidelman-directed pilot of Sex and the City. The chapters are short, and each is titled after a song that thematically fits the content of the chapter. Many black-and-white photos of movie sets, events from Seidelman’s career, and her family are interspersed throughout the book. Her stories are compelling and offer a glimpse into a little-known independent-film world. There are also vivid descriptions of the New York City artist culture in the late 20th century.
VERDICT A quick and easy read about the life and career of a trailblazing filmmaker. Will appeal to many audiences, including those unfamiliar with Seidelman’s career. Fans of Jay and Mark Duplass’s Like Brothers, Tim Murphy’s Christodora, or Alice Bag’s Violence Girl will especially enjoy.
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