Monday, June 2, 2014

Dances with Films: Gasp

I’ve had the pleasure of screening a few selections from this year’s Dances with Films, a film festival in Los Angeles currently in its 17th year.

Directed by Annika Kurnick
Screening June 2 at 7:15pm

Some films are all about a feeling. It’s the mood that permeates the entirety of its run and helps to define its characters and where they are in life. It’s hard to match the sense of detached relaxation present in “Gasp,” the directorial debut of filmmaker Annika Kurnick. Molly (Elsa Carette) is the new face at the annual tradition of closing down the legendary Elijah’s seasonal island home. As she meets all of his friends, she begins to understand the loose and fluid nature with which they live their lives, treating their relationships as intertwined and gaining pleasure and satisfaction from challenging themselves to surprise each other just for the sake of surprising each other. The standouts among the guests are certainly Wyatt (Charlie Wilson), who is famous for his drinks and his speeches, and Hannah (Angela Gulner), who effortlessly seduces those around her with her passion and energy. There are moments in “Gasp” where it feels as if reality has completely dissipated and that this is all that exists, and it’s a wondrous and completely intoxicating sensation. The conversations are fascinating and captivating, and these characters have much to offer. By its end, however, it isn’t all that much clearer what motivates them and the film doesn’t have a true conclusion to which it builds. The ride, however, is quite a journey, and a contemplative and positively unusual one.


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