Chinese 1, 11/4/2011, 5:00 PM
Chinese 3, 11/5/2011, 10:00 PM
By Kim Luperi
An intellectual city couple Sebastian (Lawrence Michael Levine) and Genevieve (Kate Lyn Sheil) sublet a country house so Sebastian can write a blog about sustainable living. The first night in their large, quiet home he asks Genevieve: “Who will we talk to?” Each other, of course, who else?
And in stumbles Robin (writer-director Sophia Takal).
Literally. Robin passes out on their front lawn and is woken up by Genevieve the next morning. Without introductions, Robin barges into the house looking for Travis. Who is Travis? And who is she, for that matter?
Just like a stray animal, we’re never quite sure where Robin comes from or what her story is, but after she gazes at Sebastian and Genevieve to the point of awkwardness, she attaches onto Genevieve, and, albeit later and more slowly, she connects with Sebastian as well. She shows up unannounced and rambles about anything and everything banal on her mind, while Genevieve, bored without a job and with no friends in the lonely countryside, listens; she really can’t get any words in amid Robin’s nonstop chatter. Though the two couldn’t be more different, they continue to hang out.
Meanwhile, Sebastian continues his work that we rarely see. He becomes friends with Robin too, though at a distance. It is only when the couple get into a fight in bed one night, and Genevieve spills her emotions and troubles to an eerily silent Robin, that the tides on this seemingly quaint friendship turn. When Genevieve later picks up on an offhand remark by Sebastian regarding Robin, she instantly starts down a road of suspicion that is fraught with paranoid visions and emotional breakdowns. But does Genevieve actually have reason to be concerned? A surprise encounter between Sebastian and Robin late in game raises some questions.
GREEN is generally a visually simple film with great contrasts that help build unexpected suspense on top of a steady, slow moving drama. Sebastian and Genevieve discuss heavy topics but speak in circles, never really getting through to each other, while Robin spouts out light, random information at length. The camera keeps its distance and cuts are few and far between in the beginning; it is only when something is wrong, and Genevieve begins to doubt her relationship with both Sebastian and Robin, that we are given a closer look, and the camera becomes intrusive and jolting, with quick, short shots that are usually obscured. Blurry snippets of nature, in one obvious nod to the title, introducing the morning or hailing the evening, are juxtaposed with the rather complex set of human emotions and relationships that develops, and ultimately erupts, over the course of GREEN.
Sophia Takal takes her time in crafting a drama about relationships that is both realistic and thought provoking, particularly through its story and performances by the three unique main leads.
Kim Luperi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.