Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Slamdance with Arielle: Impetus

It’s my pleasure to introduce Arielle, my wife and an eager new contributor who is covering the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City this year, along with a few Sundance selections.

Director Jennifer Alleyn discusses the film

Directed by Jennifer Alleyn
Narrative Features

“Impetus” tells the story of loss, grief, and continued life through varied stories of resilience. Though intended as a fictional film, director Jennifer Alleyn describes it as a hybrid film where “life just sort of burst into it.” She felt that this film was made up of many little miracles. “Everyone on board had hit a wall in their lives,” and was able to work through their despair or frustration by being part of this project. The original actor cast in the fictional movie became so busy throughout the process that it was impossible to complete the filming, so the director returned to the original idea of having a female protagonist, one who happened to be a good friend of hers, and found herself with a finished product unlike anything she could have imagined.

As a Jewish critic, I was intrigued by the two Jewish references made in the film – one shot of Hasidic Jews in a restaurant, and the other a mention of the actor playing a Jew in a film. Alleyn said that she is totally fascinated by the Jewish faith and culture, and the ways that its influence in New York can be omnipresent, but also inaccessible. In fact, the original script included a conversation between the protagonist and a rabbi on a Hasidic bus, but that scene never ended up being filmed.

From maintaining a level of distraction by keeping busy, to feeling completely serene, I really appreciated the ways in which this film honored the varied stories of human resilience and coping, and the day-to-day movement between them. However, by the end of the film, it seemed that those involved with creating the film gained more from their experiences than I had from watching it.


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