The second movie I’ve seen this year with a sea turtle girl at the beach. The wikipedia version of this movie is a frustrated teen off her meds who finds a community in a weirdo theater troupe, but conflicts arise between the girl (Helena Howard) and her mom (Miranda July), spilling into her acting and vice versa, and this is encouraged past the point of comfort by theater director Molly Parker.

The experience of watching it is something different, with editing and camera focus and framing just all over the place. Butter on the Latch was similarly disorienting, but more energy here from characters and story drives the thing into a jittery madness which is extremely fun to watch.

Decker has a new film at Sundance, so I checked out her debut… watched this 70-minute feature after work, floated off to dinner thinking about how much I loved it, then discovered the people I follow on letterboxd didn’t love it at all. Someone must’ve recommended it – Richard Brody, maybe. Anyway, everyone’s loving the new one to death, so I’m feeling ahead of the curve in my appreciation.

Starts out disorienting – Sarah gets a call from someone we haven’t seen, who has woken up in a strange apartment, and she’s yelling panicked orders into the phone. Then after a night clubbing, Sarah appears to be in the same situation herself. That’s the end of city life – the next scene has her meeting old friend Isolde at a Bulgarian folk music camp on the other coast, their reunion scene shot completely out of focus. Overall the camera and editing choices are completely bizarre, keeping me on my toes through what could’ve been a typical semi-improvised indie drama. The playfully strange filmmaking combined with a scenario where we never find out who anyone is or what’s going on reminded me of The Strange Little Cat. We also get slow focus pulls, cutaways to slugs, sudden witchy/culty flash-edits, a Blair Witch-like scene, and of course, much performance and dancing to Bulgarian folk music. Eventually Sarah starts drifting apart from Isolde as Sarah is falling for fellow camper Charlie Hewson, then she seems to drown him in the lake.

Sarah:

Isolde with the Dancing Woman: