By Roger Costa
An aging woman works on packing up lots of bags of weed and sending them in the mail, as the smoke fills the screen, mixed up with nostalgic images in Super-8 in a reflection of her memories, the long lost family gatherings. Living in a Reserved Park area and working illegally for over 30 years, she is now stirred up by the legalization of the product and the bureaucracy that comes with it.
After her revelatory performance in “Krisha”, indie diva Actress Krisha Fairchild gives another top-notch turn as Devi, the pot farmer who faces the realities of capitalism against minorities. She embodies patience and determination with masterful skills, proving that aging actresses can still find relevant and attractive roles, despite the changing industry. She was named Best Actress at both Riverrun and Sidewalk Film Festivals, while the film took Top Prizes at Nevada, Nashville and Montclair Film Festivals.
When she gets a warning and fine for her cultivation, putting her at a financial threat, and emotional pressure, she runs against time to prevent what could be her last harvest.
An acid psychological legal drama with an impactful social commentary, directors Mario Furloni and Kate McLean conduct the material with sensibility and preciseness, capturing the steaming uncertainty of the legal situation over a harmless woman who had worked her entire life on cultivation, and the emotional distress she must endure. Anchored by Fairchild’s stunning leading turn, the film also succeeds in its composition of images, offering memorable angles on natural landscapes and the lights surrounding Devi’s survivalist journey. Cautiously crafted and executed, it is a powerful study on the impacts of marijuana legalization and a farmer’s rights.
(Dark Star Pictures. 10/15. Cinema Village NYC.)
THE BLAZING WORLD
Based on her own dreams (and hallucinations), young rising star and writer-director Carlson Young delivers one of the most radical horror fantasies in recent years, a visually arresting and immersive experience that reveals her potential as a visionary filmmaker. Her imagination gives life to an extraordinary journey, wherein a self-destructive young woman travels through a portal into an unknown dimension where ordinary people are blood-thirsty and she might find her sister. The center of the story is presented in the opening sequence, as the young protagonist witnesses the accidental death of her twin sister. Living with such trauma, she returns home to meet up her parents and clean up for a sale, which leads her to resurface those tragic events. The always reliable and competent Udio Kier co-stars as the host of the alternative world she sets foot on, giving the film moments of creepiness and satirical dark humor. An efficient and wondrously designed spinoff on the classic story of Alice in Wonderland, this Gothic-infused, mysteriously seductive and thrilling gruesome adventure was first praised early this year when debuted at Sundance competing for the coveted NEXT Innovator Award. Director Young proves to be a promising new voice with this outstanding hallucinating work.
(Vertical Entertainment. 10/15. Kent Theaters NYC.)