Dean Learner meets Michelangelo Antonioni

Richard Ayoade, perhaps best known for his role as uber-nerd Moss in Channel 4’s comedy The I.T. Crowd, has made his directorial debut with Submarine, an adaptation of Joe Dunthorne’s coming-of-age novel about a 15 year old boy with two objectives; to lose his virginity and to stop his mother falling in love with a new age mystic.

Anyone who’s seen Ayoade’s prior ventures in a directorial capacity (like this for Vampire Weekend, for example, or this for Arctic Monkeys) will know that he possesses a keen, elegant visual style (definite hints of the compositional precision of Michaelangelo Antonioni, and latterly Wes Anderson) and an enviable ability to harness his deadpan flair in front of the camera and filter it through the lens.

Submarine was one of the hot tickets at last year’s BFI London Film Festival.  You can watch the trailer here, and I’m very much looking forward to catching it.

My first exposure to Ayoade was the staggeringly underrated Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place, a six-part horror docu-spoof which first aired on Channel 4 in 2004. Taking cues from spooky 80s medical drama St. Elsewhere, as well as almost every dreadful horror movie ever made, …Darkplace starred Ayoade as fey publisher Dean Learner, who in the show was horribly miscast as no-nonsense hospital boss Thornton Reed. The whole thing was a work of genius, and to celebrate, here’s the best of Dean Learner (credit to YouTuber fingerscoyle).“He didn’t want an act. He wanted the truth”.

 

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