Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review from Unseen Films: ‘BLAZE’

BLAZE

After accidentally witnessing a violent crime, a young girl is left catatonic with shock, and struggles to make sense of what she saw, ultimately finding renewal in the inestimable world of her own imagination.


It is a  brilliantly made, beautifully acted film that is an excellent exploration of dealing with trauma. I applaud the filmmakers for making a film that deals honestly with the subject and doesn’t make it so everything instantly goes away in 90 minutes.

That said, we have to talk about the opening.

I am being more forthcoming than the promotional material for the film in that I am telling you our right that the terrible thing mentioned in the promotional material is a sexual assault, I am also warning you that it is really brutal.  While I hate warning audiences this time there should have been a warning on the content before going in – especially since some write-ups mention the film being about a girl and her invisible dragon- which many, myself included, made us think slightly lighter fare.

I mentioned this because I have friends who are victims of sexual assault and watched them walk out after discovering a film or play not knowing the subject matter. I have a day job where I have come into contact with survivors and I have seen them triggered by off-handed mentions of their own or another’s assault.  I have been yelled at by friends for not mentioning lesser assault in a film recommendation, so despite the filmmaker’s desire that audiences not be told and discover the event on their own, I am warning you.

Critically the assault raises an important question about the structure of the film in that there is no constructive need for us to witness the whole thing when our heroine does not. She only peaks at the rape, hiding behind a tree and listening to what she can hear over the sound in her headphones. There is no rational reason for us to see the rape in detail from multiple angles other than the creating of a head space, which ends up being overdone since the rape hangs over the film. Think about it- I am talking about the start of the film despite the ending being hopeful.

In an age where we label what is in the film, there was, as of this writing (June 3) no warning anywhere. There should be one. More so since I know other festivals such as Sundance and SXSW earlier this year had warnings on films that were much less jarring.

And no I am not big on trigger warnings but this film really requires one- even if my calling for one may make you think it’s not as bad as all that- because someone is not going to get the memo.

Warning given the film is gorgeous and amazingly well made (dare I say it could be called a great film), but everything is colored by the rape and as such, I don’t want to discuss it.

You’re on your own


For more Tribeca coverage from Unseen Films click here!


Remaining screenings:
Fri June 10 – 5:45 PM

Cinépolis: Theater 5

Fri June 17 – 8:00 PM

Village East by Angelika: Theater 2


Review: ‘I Spit On Your Grave 3 Vengeance Is Mine’

ISOYG posterWhen I was a high school Junior, I sat in a sexual assault seminar. The woman leading the talk asked us to take out a piece of paper, write down our name at the top, and then write down the names of our three closest friends. The she proceeded to say, “Statistics say that three out of the four of you on this list will be sexually assaulted in the four years you are at university.” As terrifying as that sounded, it ended up being true. How is one supposed to act after such horrific things happen to them? Don’t you wish that you could take matters into your own hands? The struggle between power and healing is greater than most can understand. In the newest installment of a franchise I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 3 VENGEANCE IS MINE tackles just such subjects in a way that is extreme but not necessarily unwarranted._MG_9874

Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler) is still tormented by the brutal sexual assault she endured years ago (I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2010). She’s changed identities and cities, reluctantly joining a support group where she begins to piece together a new life. But when her new friend’s murderer goes free and the tales of serial rapists haunt her, Jennifer will hunt down the men responsible and do what the system won’t – make them pay for their crimes in the most horrific ways imaginable. Only this time, no jury may be able to save her. Jennifer Landon (“The Young and the Restless”), Doug McKeon (ON GOLDEN POND) and Gabriel Hogan (“Heartland”) co-star in this unforgiving, unmerciful and uncut new chapter of one of the most notorious franchises in movie history.

Anchor Bay Entertainment released I Spit on Your Grave in 2010 and I Spit On Your Grave 2 in 2013 to critical acclaim.  Based on Meir Zarchi’s 1978 version, the franchise has gained the respect of both mainstream and genre critics. This latest installment is a continuation of the 2010 film’s storyline._MG_7009This particular film is a real departure from the tried and true formula of the first two films. Utilizing flashbacks to connect with the former, ISOYG 3, is intense and twisted in the revenge game. Sarah Butler once again nails this role. She captures the screen, never unassuming, Butler is relatable and engrossing. Sidekick of sorts in the plot is actress Jennifer Landon as Marla (pictured above) as an ass-kicking, no mercy, take back the night kinda chick. She shines just as brightly as Butler. The other performance that absolutely deserves mention is that of Doug McKeon, as distraught father whose daughter was a victim of rape. Throwing caution to the  wind, his performance gets better and better as the film progresses. He gains your sympathy, support, and finally cheers. _MG_7136While the plot is quite the structural departure, it almost works wonders, almost. Strong performances save the plot that seems so far from the first two. It’s an interesting look into the emotional damage of such acts, and don’t be mistaken, it is a victim’s fantasy. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 3 will entertain genre fans with its heightened gore factor and practical effects, no doubt. There is no shortage of cringe worthy moments… massively cringe worthy. The film opens today in LA (October 9) and will be available on DVD, Blu, Ray, VOD October 20.