Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

"A bewitching thing."

There's a particular way of looking out the window, a rest of the head against the head rest. A weariness, a moment of changing focus. It might be another type of Ford, but it is passage and passenger, driver and driven. Under darkening skies the grass waves slowly. Fresh shadows are cast by that hurricane lamp. Constraint, protection.

It's not a one-sided conversation, but they're talking in different directions. "whatever it is we're doing here" is something we will find out. Footsteps and fidgeting, a smallness of gesture. In the dark of the woods we get depth from the sense of the interior light. Other interiors. Other lights.

It might be a grave. Flowers in the wound in the earth, petals against that rectangular chasm. It isn't. It's eggshells, lost in something that might be a drain. No less a set of places of transition, a parallel of liminality, a depiction of decay and detritus that's an accident of pattern-recognition. A folding chair through the quiet woods.

The figure ahead is a painting, a silhouette. The radio is not the only silence between mother and daughter. This is hypnotic, haunting, spellbinding. This is sensational, literally so, from the smell of 3am to the opening and closing song. Cold Tea Syndrome by Lung Dart repeats a refrain about how time keeps moving, and we can feel it throughout. Chelsea Grace and Lorraine Hudson bring a chemistry to the central relationship that brings flesh to a film that is at once woods and trees. Both have mostly short film credits that I can find, but acting is more often a question of moments than marathons. This is full of them, shake of hands and heads, repose and respite. There's a moment in a car lit from above, followed by one lit from below. Hair picked out in the abstract ovoid of a passenger window, roof and door and headliner and headlight all off, obscured, a dark egg of absence against a forest of implication. A torch in hand, light pulsing past the bones and veins and jewelry, a warm glistening. There's a shot soon after that could hang on a wall. An eccentric imbalance, orbital, the eyes of the car reflected in the damp tarmac, a figure contrasted against the grey green of the early morning verge, a telegraph pole off-set against the sundered sky.

Ruby Cedar writes and directs. There's a psychological consultant too, with whom a surname is shared, and through it all a sense of closeness. Lawrence Hector's sound and Eugenia Kamizinova's camera bring to everything a proximity. There's possibly even something in the near handwritten style of the font of the closing credits, the mixture of the personal and the obscured, the need to peer closely. Detail obscured and obscuring detail. The car console tells us it is the fourth of July, but it's a different sort of independence we await in the day. Worth watching, weighing, waiting, wondering. A bewitching thing.

Reviewed on: 05 May 2022
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The fractured relationship between a mother and daughter in crisis.

Director: Ruby Cedar

Year: 2021

Country: UK


GSFF 2022

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