Monday, 20 October 2014

BFI Film Festival - White Bird in a Blizzard

A late evening showing of Gregg Araki's White Bird in a Blizzard, adapted from the novel of the same name by Laura Kasischke, may have seemed like an odd way to end a day but it was strangely peaceful.

After the delights of Kaboom, I was looking forward to this next venture, especially after the trailer. It felt to me, a little bit drama, a bit of suspense and then that touch that Araki seems to have where even the most traumatic experiences seem peaceful, for this film, its the disappearance of a parent.

With a great cast, a brilliant atmospheric soundtrack (yes, I said that) set in 1988 and 1991, to me this was period piece that felt understated, no overly obvious cultral references were screaming out and that gave room for the (I thought so) simple story. A teenage girl relates her memories from when her mother disappeared one day when she was 17. To me, this film was not about the actual disappearance, it was more about memories and lack of true emotions, especially from the main character. That's what made it such an intriguing film. I couldn't tear my eyes away from the screen.

Kat (Shailene Woodley) narrates the story, stating what is said on the poster, 'I was 17 when my mother disappeared'. Her mother (a brilliant character from Eva Green) is crazy, repressed bitter women. Kat relates memories of her parents, some she wasn't even present for and later, more recent ones that give a background and set up for the present. Then one day her mother is gone. Her father (Christopher Meloni) is quietly distraught or in shock, sometimes its hard to tell. But Kat carries on as normal, apart from her strange dreams where she sees her mother. It's a very visual film, especially in flashbacks and the dreams sequences. I don't want to give too much more away about the story, it's something that you should watch and interpret (unless you've read the book) for yourself.

As the film is set in late 80's and early 90's, I loved everything Woodley was wearing. Mixed with the amazing soundtrack, I was in throwback heaven.

After this film, I am very much looking forward to seeing Araki's next film, as the more I see, the more impressed and immersed I am in his style.


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