MDMA is 1 hour 54 minutes, shot in real time using the camera from an APPLE MAC BOOK some time in late 2010 in New York City. The film follows Megan Boyle and Tao Lin throughout their experience of taking MDMA (sometimes called pure ecstasy or Molly) while they explore New York City.
One scene displays a tender conversation between Boyle and Lin in the back of a taxicab discussing their popularity in grade school and past romances. Earlier in the film, B and L are sitting together on the subway, showing each other things on the laptop. Lights and images are seen reflected inside the lenses of Megan Boyle's glasses.
Tao Lin gradually rests his head on her shoulders and stays quiet.
the scenes are titled car, store, subway, taxi, times square, and toys r us.
the package included (1) MDMA (20 JAN 2011) dvd/"green" case (2) a few playing pogs (3) a green slammer with a picture of a Dalmatian and a butterfly on its back staring out (4) a CVS card with keychain hole (5) a FUCK AMERICA sticker (6) and a personal note from Megan Boyle.
Each package is personal and unique. I remember feeling happy when I saw the package on my kitchen table.
MDMAfilms Screening/Q&A at Temporary Storage: The Unedited Transcript by Sari Moon on THOUGHT CATALOG
I waited until all my work friends and I had shared a night off together to watch the film. I was pushing for a midnight screening of MDMA at our independent movie theater. Everyone came around at the same time. Jason arrived with beer and Peter behind him in the hallway had more beer. They arrived smiling and almost picturesque. A few ceiling lights were flickering on and off. Although Frances was not there, I called her on speakerphone and everyone said Hi to each other. Jason even waved at me. Five minutes after, when we hung up the phone and said Goodbye to Frances, more people were gathering in the hallway and knocked on my door.
In my monotone, I told everyone Tao Lin stayed here in my apartment once.
The girls there were pouring their drinks and then pointing at my cat, Theo.
My cat was running back and forth around in my apartment, which he does around new people.
My friend Peter said he loves context.
I said, Tao Lin is allergic to cats.
Everyone became comfortable on the couch and on the carpet in front of the television.
We watched the film in three sittings with two cigarette breaks. The wine and the beer had not last the night. My friends remarked about how much they loved the pink dvd title screen. I realized while watching some of the ways of how the film was made. I was looking for the narratives in the film for my mind to follow. The film was spending an uncut and raw 1 hour 54 minutes with Megan Boyle and Tao Lin. The time in the film was in real time. Sometimes the footage would blink because APPLE MAC BOOKS tended to do that. I recognized music from LESS THAN JAKE and IRON & WINE. When we finished, no one had left early. Although I was touched with the viewing, I understood almost immediately that MDMA was difficult to watch.
I turned the lights back on and offered water to everyone. I watched their eyes readjust and people shifting.
Peter said something. He said he needed more context. He said, but he thinks he likes it. Everyone asked me more about who Tao Lin was, who Megan Boyle was.
My request for a midnight screening was rejected and MDMA was deemed by my supervisors as too hard to watched. I watched it again by myself at home and took notes while pausing the screen sometimes.
I started to think of the action out loud as scenes/sentences as I saw them happening on the screen.
The sentences were calm and minimal:
Megan talks while having a red apple. Tao spins around in a circle in front of Megan. There is a female voice on the intercom in the subway and beeping noises in the acoustics. They sit down together in the train and smile into the camera. They talk about music and the band AT THE DRIVE IN.
I brought the film along with me to Seattle to watch with Frances. We watched it in two sittings, half in the evening and half during the morning after in her apartment. Often, we laughed and talked during the viewing. We said things to each other like Tao has writing on his hand, and Megan seems really nice.
"I have the ability to like anything."
-Tao Lin from MDMA (20 JAN 2011)
"Russell Crowe. Russell Crowe."
-Megan Boyle from MDMA (20 JAN 2011)
This was wonderful to watch but hard to explain why. I think when watching movies, we are subscribing to this strange cinema contract, wherein the director(s) provides deep and often complicated questions, so then the viewer is obliged to mull those questions over. The movie is good or the movie is bad. The viewer often takes one side or the other.
You often feel a sense of urgency to decide whether or not the movie was bad or if the movie was good or whether or not you enjoyed the viewing experience or whether or not you will advertise how the experience has affected you and your life.
MDMA really subscribes to "fuck that contact". The strange cinema contract between filmmaker and viewer is null and void and radically critiqued. This effect is refreshing.
The film is simple but not easy. The plot is executing and playing out an idea: Megan Boyle and Tao Lin take MDMA together and film themselves with a MACBOOK. It has no real point.
Because of this detachment, the film is soothing because it creates a new kind of viewing. It feels equivalent as leaving music left playing from a record player in the background. I don't feel obliged to anything while watching MDMA. I am just free to watch. Highly recommended.
It is also nice to see the chemistry between Megan and Tao.
transcript of a scene
TL. I am acting like a belligerent asshole.
MB. You're commanding the world.
This is how normal people feel all the time.
They just do this.
TL. But then they get used to it so they just get angry.