Thursday, June 2, 2011

Growing Pains

Mary Marie (2010) - Roxo
In the beginning of the film, Mary (Alana Kearns-Green) and Marie (Alexandra Roxo) spend the night at the grandpa's house at the wake of their mother's passing. Mary insists on sleeping in the same bed with the old man. This sweet, innocent gesture sets the tone of Mary Marie, an erotically charged yet gentle 'growing up' film by writer/director/star Roxo.

The two girls resume their lives in a suspended state of childhood in a big house filled with the family artifacts and memories. They take baths together, sleep in the same bed, and play dress-up. This fragile, temporary/eternal tranquility is disturbed as Peter (Tim Linden), a local handyman hired to take care of the house, enters the picture. After initial flirting, Peter and Marie hit it off and leave Mary in the lurch. Is this just a summer fling or the beginning of the end of the unnaturally tight bond between the girls?

With its scenic summer pastoral backdrop, Mary Marie's ethereal world is stunningly photographed by Magela Crosignani (The Imperialists are Still Alive!). The film resembles, in many ways, Sophia Coppola's enigmatic Virgin Suicides. But whereas the Lisbons are unreachable fantasy creatures admired from afar, here we are invited to share the intimate moments between Mary and Marie. Their lives are otherworldly but not impenetrable. The strength of Mary Marie lies in its intimacy created by its two brave principal actors without much dialog. They are at once immature and wise, prude and sweet, secretive and open, seductive and silly, delicate and bold. Building on a seemingly simple love triangle premise, Roxo and her team successfully realize the state of the two young women with burgeoning sexuality (still teetering on the edge of childhood) and their desire not to let go.

Mary Marie is a competent and beautiful first feature by a new major talent and I'm very much looking forward to see more from Roxo and Kearns-Green in the near future.

Mary Marie screens on June 4th and 10th at 8pm as part of Brooklyn Film Festival, for more information and tickets' please click here

Mary Marie trailer from Alexandra Roxo on Vimeo.