Issue #9: PEEL and 555

Minimal effort

Simone Polanen

Okay, yes, the newsletter is late this week.

But please do remember that I never promised timeliness, quality, consistency, or accountability. Those are not my values and they never will be.

I am feeling lazy this week, so I’ll keep it short and talk about SHORTS.


I’ve been a lot busier than usual lately and haven’t really had the time to sit down and watch a full feature film. But my brain demands a constant stream of media, so when I can’t seem to cram another Vlog Squad video into my brain, I seek out something with a little more substance. I never knew exactly what to search to find high-quality short form works. That is until my new best friend Criterion Channel rolled into town. They’ve curated a whole bunch of great shorts, but my favorite thus far has been AN EXERCISE IN DISCIPLINE: PEEL, by Jane Campion. And she was 28 when she made the film, which, as a newly 27-year-old woman, I find comforting.

Is it incredibly brave to say I love a film that has won a Palme d’Or? Absolutely. Being a woman doing absolutely anything is revolutionary and a radical act.

Unfortunately, the film is not available online, but here is a very brief clip. You can watch the full thing at — you guessed it — Criterion Channel.


I think Kate Berlant and John Early are two of the greatest cinematic minds of our generation, though they are known primarily as comedians. You know them from a bunch of stuff. I could go into it, but I don’t feel like it, especially when you, dear reader, have access to powerful search tools like Google (ever heard of it?).

Kate and John do standup, they do characters, and they make gorgeous shorts. Their work is scattered all across the internet. I’ll link some notables here.

But the culmination of the Berlant-Early partnership to date has been their Vimeo original anthology series 555. The budget? Colossal. The cinematography? Delicious. The performances? Uproarious.

You can watch the trailer for the series here, and if you like what you see, you can buy all 5 videos for $3.99.


Some might call this newsletter lazy. I would also call it that. Let’s hope this bitch (me) pulls it together by next week.