Female Filmmaker Friday: Braid (2018) [Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival 2018]

A woman living in her imaginary world of her own making received a visit from two old friends on the run from the law and looking for easy money and as well as an easy way out. Turns out, going home may not yield the results they were aiming for.

Writer/director Mitzi Peirone creates a story here that is strong yet somewhat vague on some fronts and very hard to explain without giving too much away. What she creates with Braid is something that pulls the viewer in and doesn’t let them go until the end of the credits. Her works in writing and behind the camera are perfectly paired and create a world of its own on the screen. The characters she creates are complete and complex while not putting all the cards on the table at any point. This leads to a mysterious atmosphere and an odd flow to the story that work perfectly in this film.

The cast here works as a unit, the leading ladies playing Daphne, Petula, and Tilda are perfectly chosen for each of their parts and connect with these parts and each other in a way that feels natural and like they were made to play these parts. Actresses Madeline Brewer, Imogen Waterhouse, and Sarah Hay come together to create an ensemble that bounces back and forth between each other and works in perfect harmony with each other. They have a special way of being a unit that delivers the emotional impact of the story and keep the viewer glued to the screen. Their acting sells the story and film and makes it what it is, a character driven dream-like piece of beautiful cinema.

The film’s effect depends on the story, direction, and acting, but also on its visuals which are strong and powerful here while keeping a dream-like quality. The cinematography by Todd Banhazl is what brings it all together on the screen, creating the images that let the viewer in and keeps them interested no matter what is going on in the film. Some of the images Banhazl creates here are seriously beautiful and oddly fascinating.

Braid shows an imagination run wild that is highly entertaining and enthralling. It grips the viewer and brings them into the three girls’ world before letting them loose there. The film is not entirely clear about everything and lets the viewer make up their mind as they go along, leaving a lot to interpretation while also guiding the impact where it needs to go. Braid achieves a balance between dream world, imagination, reality, and what is perceived. It’s beautiful, it’s thoughtful, and it’s mesmerizing in all the best ways possible while approaching hard subjects and themes. Included in these are mental illness, abuse, repetition of patterns, and the importance of having a family, blood related or chosen. Braid is an important film in how it takes a look at all of this without really telling the viewer where their mind should go or how to interpret most of the film without losing them in the process.

Visit Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival for updates on this year and next year’s festival.