Gaggle’s Film Jukebox


Gaggle are a multi-membered all-female contemporary choir led by classically trained Deborah Coughlin. A powerfully intelligent and creative group (a ‘gaggle’ in fact…) of women, their music ranges from beats to opera and is powered by vocal force. Gaggle’s debut album will be released on Transgressive in early 2012. For more information please go to the Gaggle website. Below, ten different members of Gaggle, named at the end of their contributions, pick their favourite films. Delia Sparrer

1. Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)
I only like films that pass the Bechdel Test (it has to have at least two women in it, who talk to each other, about something other than a man). I wish I had known about the test, and wish I had watched this film when I was 12, the same age as the protagonist Dawn Weiner. This is no ordinary pre-teen coming-of-age film; Dawn could be a 12-year-old riot grrrl or young Enid Coleslaw from Ghost World. The film is realistic yet kitsch in its portrayal of female outsiderness and suburban ennui. It captures the awkward yet sacred rituals of girldom perfectly, especially in the scene where Dawn performs an incantation over her DIY shrine to her dreamy teen crush Steve, glitter and candles flickering on her bedroom carpet. Welcome to the Dollhouse doesn’t pander to any of the ‘ugly duckling turned swan’ pre-teen film clichés, nor does everything turn out alright in the end, and it’s all the better for it. Glossolalia

2. The Evil Bong (2006)
The first time I watched this film I was half drunk on Kopparberg and eating Camembert (that might have been heart-shaped) on baguettes in a huge Gaggle Tour Bus, sat next to my bezzie mate Boadicea. We had this TV on the coach with literally thousands of films on it. As Gaggle are one big happy family, Daddy Gaggle Simon (writer, sound engineer, producer), who obviously had the remote (cock reference anyone?) skimmed through the options and eventually we found this – a gleaming gem of a film that no one thought we would watch all the way to the end. But we did, and I thank Christ every day for it. Apparently, what keeps 30 women entertained and quiet for more than half an hour is tits and drugs. Evil Bong is essentially a dumb stoner movie made on a budget better suited to YouTube. It eloquently tells the story of a group of stoners that inhale more than they bargained for, smoking from a possessed Amazonian bong. After a few ‘tokes’ the stoner boys are transported into a strip club (so far so good) and are danced around by hot topless ladies (great) who later murder them (Uh oh!), leaving their straight-living nerd roomy to save the day… It’s not pretty to look at, the plot’s bizarre, but it has the boyish charm of Beavis and Butthead and a billion other Vice/MTV rotters before it. Which basically makes it Lipstick Gaggle’s dream come true. If I wanted ‘Culture’ I’d go and watch Amelie. Lipstick

3. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
God – where to begin for reasons… It’s such a heart-wrenching tale about love, discrimination, disability, creative expression and done in such a fantastical, imaginative and sensitive way. A grown-up fairy tale. The production design and general style of the film is so incredibly cool, even today. I love that bit when all the cars come out of their pastel-coloured driveways in perfect timing – it’s such a brilliant shot to represent the eeriness of suburbia… And also when Edward cuts all the women’s hair and they all pretty much jizz their pants… And that bit when Kim dances in the garden under the snowflakes that Edward is making from his ice sculptures… And it’s got Johnny Depp… swoon… and Winona before she went mental and started stealing things. WONDERFUL! WigWham

4. The Seventh Seal (1957)
This is a film that totally stuck in my head after I watched it, even though it’s really different from and more serious than the type of films I usually tend to like. Max von Sydow is perfect as the soul-searching knight playing chess with Death – he barely even seems to say that much, it’s all in his sad eyes! It has a great mixture of being subtle in its telling but surreal in its content. The Crusades, the ever-present threat of the Black Death and the reality of witch burnings provide a backdrop that is both bizarre but familiar and totally fascinating. Apart from that, it’s strange to see iconic imagery that you then realise has been parodied and pastiched many times over (most comically perhaps in Bill and Ted – who play, and beat, Death at Twister and Battleships). It also inspired one of my favourite songs by Scott Walker. Sredni Vashtar

5. Sliding Doors (1998)
I’ve never looked at the world in the same way since watching this film. It made me question whether one moment really can change your path forever or if our fate is decided from the outset and the succession of events leading up to the end result is what we know to be life. I can turn my head in knots thinking about it and it does baffle me but I also find it very exciting – I can’t wait to see what life brings my way. Belle

6. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)
Centred around two characters who feature quite largely in Hamlet’s life as his best friends, but are dispensed with in just one line and no further comment in the rest of the Shakespearian play. In this film adaptation of his own play, Stoppard (who is a genius when stretching the limits of language to absurdity) uses the medium to its advantage, creating a funny, surreal, nonsensical and cyclical piece of cinema. Also I just love Tim Roth and Gary Oldman, they are definitely British acting gems. Corvus

7. The Dark Knight (2008)
First of all Christopher Nolan: the man is a genius, and in my humble opinion has yet to make a bad movie. In The Dark Knight, Batman is simply badass, and when you take the Batman universe from the comic and drop it straight into a real-world crime drama you are on to a winner! All the campness of the 60s TV series and the awful Joel Schumacher movies are replaced by a dark and gritty atmosphere. The film is so well crafted with rounded characters all with depth and inner conflict, beautiful cinematography (Chicago makes an amazing Gotham City), and some breathtaking action set-pieces that aren’t reliant on crappy CGI. Jezebel

8. Hairspray (1988)
The John Waters one OF COURSE. Because it has the best fucking soundtrack, and it’s got the best performance of people doing the Madison in it. The best fucking hair, DIVINE GOD BLESS HER SOUL, and Ricki Lake AND Debbie Harry and Sonny Bono and Rik Ocasec as a beatnik – I don’t think I need to explain anymore than that. Strick

9. Mullholland Drive (2001)
I love the dark atmosphere of this film and how you can interpret the story in several different ways as it shifts between reality and the unconscious. The non-linear approach to storytelling is truer to life. Naomi Watts plays such a stand-out role in this, bringing to life several different characters through the movie and each one as believable as the other. Mixed with the surreal element and set against the backdrop of Hollywood, it gives a great dark insight to the depths of what is usually portrayed as an aspirational and glamorous place. Swanimaru

10. Now, Voyager (1942)
After much deliberation (Jurassic Park, Sister Act, Eraserhead, Slaves of New York, Lost Boys didn’t make the cut!) I think I have to contribute Now, Voyager. Stylish and moving, Bette Davis plays a really inspirational woman who finds her own happiness, ignoring the expectations and conventions of others. It explores some pretty modern ideas considering it was made in 1942 – from the stigma of suffering from depression and the success of talking therapies to women’s independence and a celebration of unconventional family relationships, with some timeless lines and a complicated but happy ending thrown in. McClean