Sunday, April 17, 2016

Talking Tribeca: Women Who Kill

I’ve had the pleasure this year of screening a number of selections from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place April 13th-24th.

Women Who Kill
Directed by Ingrid Jungermann
Festival Screenings

The audience for a podcast about real-life crimes may not be large, but I’m sure there are plenty of people across the globe who are interested in that topic. In “Women Who Kill,” the feature film debut from Ingrid Jungermann, there are two women whose relationship failed but who found success in hosting such a show together, bonding over a shared interest and developing profession rather than a personal connection. Their story is not a typical romantic comedy, but instead a film whose events mirror some of the suspense and foreboding patterns that their podcasts often feature.

Morgan (Jungermann) is the film’s protagonist, sharing screen time with her live-in roommate and ex-girlfriend Jean (Ann Carr), who is also her co-host. Morgan comes off as an introvert, but as the film progresses, it becomes clear that she only opens up to those to whom she feels close, and can temper her enthusiasm at any moment while others, like Jean, feel some sense of catharsis letting their emotions bubble over. As she finds a sympathetic ear in imprisoned killer Lila (Annette O’Toole), Morgan embarks on a relationship with the mysterious, alluring Simone (Sheila Vand), as everyone around her tells that there is something suspicious and off about her.

The setting is crucial to this film, as Brooklyn, particularly the LGBTQ scene, acts almost as a character in itself. One major meeting point for the film’s characters - and where Morgan first spots Simone - is a food coop where Morgan always gets hit with the most boring jobs that constantly seem wrong for her. Running an orientation for new members deprives her of the opportunity to introduce Simone to the coop, but that is only a minor obstacle in the beginning of their relationship. Jungermann herself is based in Brooklyn, and it’s evident that she knows her town and how to best utilize it.

This film isn’t for everyone, to be sure, mainly because the film’s title and the one-line description will turn plenty off. But for those who do decide to explore, it’s an intriguing and different experience, one that doesn’t fall neatly into any genre classification. The film is funny at times and off-putting approaching disturbing at others. Jungermann is a talented filmmaker who casts herself in a perfect role, and while this film may leave viewers with more unpleasant thoughts than positive ones, it’s definitely hard to shake or to forget.


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