Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"Francine" by Brian M. Cassidy & Melanie Shatzky

There can sometimes be total awe in front of a film. This can happen when its protagonist is so unique that it shakes up one’s predispositions. The characters shouldn’t be portrayed in sensationalist way but instead highlighted for their rare individuality. It can’t be condescending. For it to feel honest there should be a warmth coming from the director’s gaze. This is Francine. It’s not that this older woman, strangely played by Melissa Leo, is purposely opaque but its just that one can't extrapolate her motives. Set in the Hudson Valley, Francine gets out of jail and then struggles to create a new life for herself. She gets different jobs, love interests and pets. Samuel Adelaar described Francine as part of a new style of filmmaking that, “depicts characters experiencing natural phenomena.” For example, Francine joins a mosh pit by a parking-lot to watch a metal band. At first she dances and then she starts to cry. In Francine, similar to their documentary The Patron Saints, the directing pair Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky bring to the fiction film an experimental social-documentary style with that of a Beckettian absurdism. Because of this Francine beautifully illustrates cinema's capabilities to be both realisitic and hallucinatory.

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