More a black and white fever dream than your typical indie production, Some Southern Waters boldly breaks established film structures to create a unique cinematic experience…but is it good?
Written and directed by Julian Baner and starring the talents of Rachel Comeau, Mariah Morgenstern, and Bry Reid, Some Southern Waters has been selected by the San Fransisco Another Hole in the Head film festival, The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, and The Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival where it won Best Florida Feature.
The film follows Jon (Bry Reid), an ambitionless musician with a vicarious empathy for bullfrogs. As Jon deals with life, love, loss, and regret, his whole reality seems to come crashing down as he crosses paths with his deceased lover (Rachel Comeau). Reality itself then becomes some kind of waking dream as Jon attempts to make sense of the absurdity of it all.
I was a little apprehensive of the “genre-bending” label the film uses to describe itself, but in this case, it really is right on the money. Some Southern Waters is a little bit of everything stitched and sewn together to create a truly bizarre narrative that is difficult to turn away from. It is hauntingly beautiful, with an absolutely enthralling score and art-like visuals. The film flows perfectly from scene to dream and back again, with the viewer never quite sure of what is real and what is not. It was like watching an art piece rather than regular cinema.
This is definitely going to be polarizing when it comes to critics and film watchers. Art house cinema fans will be left sated and satisfied, with those looking for something a little more familiar (or normal) probably left vexed. The acting was fantastic and although Reid only seems to have two productions under his belt, I felt his portrayal of Jon was dead on. Comeau and Morgenstern also brought their A-game, with their characters feeling like real people with real emotions rather than the common stereotypes often associated with indie productions. The attention to personality is what really sells the film.
Second only to the acting was the masterful use of music. The score is heavily intertwined with the story, with a few of the main songs seeming like signals for dream sequences. The song choices are great and range from operatic ballads to indie rock to doo-wop; from The Aquatones to Polvo to The Good Ship Venus. The music does for Some Southern Waters what colourisation does for other films—it sets the tone, the mood and the ambience and makes for a wild ride.
Some Southern Water’s is not going to be to everyone’s tastes—speaking honestly, it’s not a film for the masses. It is, however, a film for film lovers and those that are looking for something different; something to get you thinking and perhaps even feeling. Baner had this to say about his concept for the film:
One of my goals with Some Southern Waters was to make a film, not so much to feel like a dream while watching, but to instil the feeling that you have dreamt it up after it’s over. I used tone, texture, and repetition, more in the way a song does than a standard screenplay, to try and achieve this feeling.
Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Poster and trailer below.
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