Thursday, June 27, 2013

LAFF 2013: The Fifth Season Review

Someone was a moody child and the directorial team of Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth well, they might both be. They do have a child together who plays the little sister to one the main character of Alice, but the little girl seemed to darn cute to be moody more sullen, because Spring is never sprung in this dark delight drama. A cold winter never leaves a small European farm village, the world might not be better off. We follow a young girl in love and see the world around fall and and shatter as the crops never come and fears set in.

Jessica Woodworth with her superior attitude at LAFF, Europeans
This film takes it's time and as the director, Jessica Woodworth, in her European accent explained how she wanted to go slow to be different from the fast-paced movies of Hollywood I slowly followed her, but kept thinking why is her last name different the other director if they had a child together. Then she half-joked about wanting distribution of the film and never answered a  questioned I posed about ostriches, so I'll never understand the ending and can only guess what it means and that's how she wanted it. Go ahead and guess what the ending is if you ever see it. I directly asked her the ending and she didn't give me an answer.

The village, which is the the director's real place of residence, somewhere in Belgium is a character along side of the unforgiving season of Winter which drags slowly on the villagers homes, hopes and psyches. We see a break down from simple childhood love and villagers enjoying their simple practices to whoring oneself to survive and believing in a sacrifice that will magically give way to Spring.

Haunting visuals that take their time over long periods make you splendor at nature or make you bitter as to how much humanity is lost and cult view has taken over the village. The Fifth Season ends a long way from where is started, but easily shows how time has progressed and the buildup has affected those in town. At the start of the film were introduced to a man trying to get his rooster to crow. The same scene shot the same way about a year later in the film's time has the man now wearing a cult mask in clean business clothes and the rooster now headless bleeding out on his table showing how far lost the village has become. Visuals where nature just flows with the main character of Alice and the profound moods that take hold.  Snow or water flows behind her as the season never changes.

She isn't the only star and as her first film it's kind of surprising because she still does a superb job of a moody teen in a world to truly be moody in . Most of the cast we're real neighbors of the directors. Only a few were real actors one of them being a peaceful outsider who comes into two with his crippled son to sell their honey eventually becoming the towns scapegoat. He plays a caring man who loves his son unsure of what to do. He is friend to Alice and her boyfriend Thomas. Thomas plays his part of boyfriend and also someone forced to be a man by the world he now lives in with great skill. At some times he was just a boy in love and a boy in love without restraint.

A budget of a little bit over a million Euros and the help of many friends and their community make a better film than so many Hollywood dramas with beautiful visuals capturing nature and people. Partially for the sci-fi crowd, but such a slow burn it's best to be called a dark haunting drama.

Hello Criterion Collection! I'm sure it will get a distributor down the line and be an art house favorite.
 It was already shown at the local Egyptian theater during LAFF, which I would think would be against the rules, but the rules don't matter when your stuck in a never ending Winter.