Happy Friday, #TeamBlaria! Before I get to the heart of the matter (Don Henley!) with this post, which is my first ever movie review for the blog, I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my jar of cocoa butter and heart for supporting Blaria during its first two months. Because of you, I have officially surpassed 10,000 TOTAL VIEWS!!! To those who didn’t think it was possible:
Now onto the movie review.I think it is safe for me to write this as I don’t really consider this a spoiler, but pretty early on in the movie, unemployed and outgoing Lisa (Starsha Gill) discovers that there are alternate dimensions where people exist. Rightfully so, she’s eager for her more reserved roommate Ashley (Kara Elverson) to arrive home from work to tell her this news. But Ashley responds the way I did when my parents got their first cell phone two years ago and said, “It has special features like a camera!” In 2010, a camera on a phone standard, not special. In fact, some would probably say if your phone didn’t have a camera then it wasn’t a real phone.
Point is, Ashley’s reaction is pretty ho hum. She already knew about the existence of alternate dimensions and never told Lisa. Why, I don’t know. I’m also not sure why Ashley is so blasé about their existence when she has yet to experience this phenomenon. Questions aside about this minor detail, Cat Scratch Fever is a rather enjoyable film about a pair of best friends who sink into the abyss of watching their alternate selves live instead of actually living themselves. Check out the trailer below:
Lisa Duva’s directorial debut, Cat Scratch Fever, is ambitious in its subject matter, yet manages to maintain an air of naturalism and earthiness. I believe this dichotomy was a good move as a slick presentation is sometimes a cover-up for a lack of depth. By Duva keeping the film rooted in a loose, non-glossy state – the production values are modest, the dialogue (Duva is one of the four credited screenwriters) is naturalistic in its pauses and overlapping talking – she manages to get the viewer involved and invested rather quickly because it seems so realistic much like the alternate dimensions seem realistic to the characters. Sidenote: I realize that my description of this film is similar to mumblecore; however, I hate to liken Fever to that style because the term has taken on a pejorative connotation, hinting at a sort of navel-gazing-but-I-mean-my-navel-is-so-interesting-so-how-can-I-not-gaze at it. And I believe that Fever is doing much more than that.
For one thing, the friendship between Ashley & Lisa rings very true and that is simply a testament to the chemistry between Elverson & Gill. You want to hang out with them probably because you are, in some way, like them. Yes, there are moments where the acting seems a little less than polished, but overall, these two actresses do a good job. As for the supporting cast, the acting varies among them (some good; others not so much), which isn’t too bothersome because much of the heavy lifting comes from Elverson & Gill.
Secondly, Duva’s dabbling in the surreal with lovely and startling imagery never comes off like a gimmick. She only uses it when necessary and it helps to liven up the modest production values that I mentioned earlier. Especially as the characters inevitably suffer consequences due to forsaking their real lives in exchange for watching their alternate lives play out on a laptop and cell phones. We may not have alternate dimensions, but in some ways, we’re not too far from that and that’s ultimately the point of the film. Facebook and other such social media activities are alternate realities from our day-to-day lives. We get to present and experience ourselves as these always interesting, funny, more energized versions of ourselves on the internet even though we may be merely sitting in a dull cubicle in real life. Yes, we don’t have the jump cut method that throttles us from real to imagined world that Duva utilizes in the movie or do we?
By the end of the film, our protagonists are dealing with the ramifications of blurring the lines between the real and the fake much like how we are on a less cinematic and dramatic level. The question remains: even if we decide to find a solution to creating additional worlds to the ones we live in, will it be too little too late?
Cat Scratch Fever
World Premiere this Saturday at indieScreen (289 Kent Ave at S. 2 Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn) at 10:30pm as a part of the Brooklyn Film Festival.
|Cast:||Starsha Gill, Kara Elverson, Gavin Bailey, Adam Bird, Kate Lyn Sheil, Sophia Takal, Isabelle Rancier, Nick Mendoza|
|Crew:||Executive Producers: Nicole Duva, Jason Ciccone, Jennifer Fox – Producers: Katherine Nolfi, Andrew Luis – Screenwriters: Lisa Duva, Katherine Nolfi, Kara Elverson, Starsha Gill – Cinematographers: Andrew Luis, Katherine Nolfi – Editors: Lisa Duva, Katherine Nolfi, Ben Brown|
For more information about Cat Scratch Fever, please visit the movie’s page on the Brooklyn Film Festival website: http://www.brooklynfilmfestival.org/films/detail.asp?fid=1241
Last night, I was lucky enough to be a part an event called “Match Game: Live!” at the LGBT Center in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Part of the proceeds from ticket sales went back to the LGBT Center to keep it afloat. It was a night full of laughs, fun, and dick puns. When the show I was over, two audience members, Drew (l.) & Bob (r.) came up to me and said, “Blaria. We love it.” And like a total yokel I go, “You read it?” And they said they did and couldn’t be sweeter about much they enjoyed it. Thanks, guys! People like you help me keep this thing going:
For more details about the LGBT Center and all the good work they and/or to donate, please go to their website: http://www.gaycenter.org/. Have a wonderful weekend and rock out to Don Henley’s Heart of the Matter: