Cinema Review – She Monkeys
Lisa Aschan’s debut film did the festival rounds last year, it has finally got a cinema release in the UK, here are Scott’s thoughts.
She Monkeys is the first film from writer / director Lisa Aschan and it certainly establishes her as a talent to keep an eye out for. She shows that she has a deft hand at direction and story telling. Staying away from heavy dialogue and action and focusing on visual storytelling and atmosphere, She Monkeys is a triumph. The story focuses on a slightly obsessive and slightly sexual relationship between two Swedish girls, Cassandra and Emma. The pair is training to be Equestrian Vaulters, gymnastics on the back of a horse. While the film may come across as slightly reserved in places it shows us that Aschan has a keen eye for what looks good on film.
The film does have the feeling of a thriller at times, it does have the same tone as Black Swan at times, even though the story is wildly different. The beauty of She Monkeys is that throughout we are questioning who exactly we should be rooting for, who is the hero? Who is the villain? You see Emma and Cassandra are locked in a dynamic power struggle with both parties diving between the goody two shoes and manipulative psychopath.
Mathilda Paradeiser and Linda Molin offer very strong and stiff performances as Emma and Cassandra respectively. The restrained performances may come over as bad acting but to me it felt like the control and poise required from the Equestrian Vaulting coursed through their veins and through their interactions within society. They are both control freaks, displayed by Emma with the amount of control and pleasure she gets from training her dog. There is a lot more to their performances than just the lines spoken.
Indeed Emma and Cassandra’s story is the main plot for the film, but there is a very interesting sub-plot about Emma’s little sister Sara. Played brilliantly by Isabella Lindquist, she is lonely and tender and her journey through childhood left me particularly concerned. Maybe it is because I have a daughter of a similar age, but it is a very heartfelt performance. Sara is shy and self-aware and as my Nan would say an old soul. She is slowly awakening to her sexuality and turning into a little woman, will she get through her worries un scarred?
She Monkeys is a slow burner there is little doubt, but it is far from boring. The ending offers up little resolution and maybe even a little confusion, but this did not make it any less enjoyable.
She Monkeys is released nationally in UK on 18th May 2012 by Peccadillo Pictures
About The Author – Scott Lawlor
Chief Editor of FRC. A self confessed geek with an unhealthy thirst for all things Home Cinema. Whether it is the latest Action film or Subwoofer. Check out his home set up HERE