2 items from 2016
Winner of the jury’s narrative feature award at Slamdance, “Driftwood” treats a fantastical theme in utterly matter-of-fact, pragmatic terms: A man finds a mermaid and tries to “domesticate” her — an effort that becomes less a love story than one of control and eventual rebellion. This wordless tale, a beguiling feature directing debut for cinematographer Paul Taylor, will be a marginal commercial prospect. But it should attract further favorable notice on the fest circuit and in other showcases for new talent.
When a young woman with short brunette hair (Joslyn Jensen) seemingly stumbles out of the sea — albeit in a demure white clip — she’s taken in by a bald-pated, 40-ish man (Paul C. Kelly) who lives alone nearby. She wakes up in a pink bedroom, curiously wiggling toes as if amazed that flippers are no longer there. Though she’s a quick study, her host has to teach her pretty much everything, »
- Dennis Harvey
The narrative arc of Paul Taylor’s “Driftwood” is rather simple: a girl washes up on a beach, is taken into the care of an older man who then conditions her to be his wife — to cook, to clean, and to satisfy him, at times against her will — and eventually she revolts. So the natural assumption would be that the bulk film is what exists in the cracks, the thematic explorations humming beneath the surface, and this is exactly what “Driftwood” wants us to think. But while there are attempts to mine some truly interesting and important ideas, the film never succeeds in saying anything substantial, landing more in the spectrum of cursory. The film opens on a bleak stretch of blurred coast. A young woman (Joslyn Jensen) stumbles into frame. Then, suddenly, she is riding, asleep, in the back of a jeep. A middled-aged man (Paul C. Kelly) has taken her home. »
- Gary Garrison
2 items from 2016
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