Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

The Wolf Knife

Laurel Nakadate's second film, The Wolf Knife, is the examination of two teenage girls and their sexuality, caught between that of an adult, and that of a child.

A video artist and photographer, Nakadate's The Wolf Knife is a film that falls under mumblecore. Shot cheaply on video camera, and featuring to unknown actresses, it has that cheap, DIY ethic that a lot of mumblecore does, and it is both the success and failure of the film. Success because the two actresses, Chrissy (Christina Kolozsvary) and June (Julie Potratz) embody the awakening and confused sexuality that is the centre of the film, and failure because the editing, camera work, and just general style of the film leave a lot to be desired. To be honest, the kindest thing that you could say about it was that it was amateuristic. It's a shame, especially when given that a look around Nakadate's work outside film are interesting and often quite beautiful, in a dirty, voyeuristic fashion.

As a film, however, it's simply too long, going at least twenty minutes longer than it needs. I do understand why it was done, to provide a sense of closure to Chrissy and June's relationship, but it wasn't necessary in my mind--the film worked on its naturalism, and to provide such a sense of closure, of tying up loose ends, went against the piece to me. The acting, outside the two young girls, is uniformly awful, and the dialogue was just as bad. Silence, such an important thing in the film, was even moreso because it allowed you to escape the weakness of the script, or the improvisation--but unfortunately, for the most part, the silence of the film did not convey much.

I was, at the end of the film, a bit give and take about it. The sexuality of the girls was excellent, but it didn't make a film, and in the end, I had to fall on the side that the film itself wasn't very good. The truth is, it's just poorly made, for all the DIY, cheap auteurism. My opinion of that, after flipping around on Nakadate's site, was reinforced, given how much I liked of the still images she had, and the sexuality that she explored there. It was just a real shame that her skills in film--skills relating to craft--were still in development.

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