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AFI FEST '14: Felt

Year: 2014
Director: Jason Banker
Writer(s): Jason Banker & Amy Everson
Cinematographer: Jason Banker
Cast: Amy Everson, Kentucker Audley, Elisabeth Ferrara, Roxanne Lauren Knouse
Country of Origin: U.S.
Rating: N/A
Time: 80 min
It's a rare discovery when a film can materialize the internal terror that women experience on a daily basis so disturbingly close to reality. Blurring the lines of documentary and narrative storytelling, Felt truly is a film that demands to be felt. It accomplishes its goal by penetrating the deepest, most harrowing aspects of trauma to tell one of the most powerful and jarring stories about the female experience and rape culture ever put on screen.

Director and cinematographer Jason Banker follows his 2012 debut film, Toad Road with Felt, co-written by Amy Everson who stars in the film as Amy, a San Franciscan artist recently plagued by a trauma (not explained but certainly sexual) inflicted by the men in her life. As her ordeal unravels emotionally and psychologically, she plunges herself in the world of art as a coping mechanism. 

“My life is a fucking nightmare” are the first words out of Amy’s mouth, a vocal confirmation of her trauma, usually reserved for her performance art. From there, we see her as she caves in on herself, crawling so deep and beyond, it’s unknown where the real Amy starts and ends. She re-appropriates the male form by frolicking in the woods, wearing an anatomically correct muscle suit and trying to re-enact the dominance demonstrated by the men she’s encountered. But it doesn’t stop there, as she continues to embrace their stereotypical brash, lewd attitude outside of costume form. This outlet to reclaim the power taken from her by an unknown attacker is only the beginning of how her mental disintegration manifests. Witnessing her inner battle materialize in outer form further conveys the delusion and terror that Amy struggles with every day, heightening the grim realities and the harsh effects of our gender warped society.

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