Josephine Decker, Director, Butter on the Latch, Thou Wast Mild and Lovely.
Festival Section: Forum.
FRED caught up with filmmaker Josephine Decker to talk about the two films she presented in the Forum section of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, BUTTER ON THE LATCH and THOU WAST MILD AND LOVELY.
BUTTER ON THE LATCH – Josephine Decker’s sinister folktale is set in the dark Californian forest of Mendocino, where a Balkan folk festival is taking place. Sarah surprises her friend Isolde by visiting her at the camp, and the two of them enjoy learning about the mythical stories from those faraway lands, practising traditional song and dance and chit-chatting on their torch-lit journeys back to the tiny cottage where they sleep. Sarah encounters a handsome guy during one of their carefree moments and decides to seduce him – slowly and over the course of several days. Obscure feelings begin to disrupt her behaviour while she makes her advances, and she almost forgets about Isolde as she is dragged deeper and deeper into the mythical world being played out in front of her by the other festival guests. Ashley Connor’s refreshing cinematography and Decker’s own freestyle editing – at times experimental, at times tranquil and contemplative – articulate the eerie unde
rworld simmering in Sarah’s unstable psyche. What begins as an innocent visit to the forest soon gives way to a confusing mind-trip, where reality and mythology become inextricably linked.
THOU WAST MILD AND LOVELY – A farm in rural Kentucky. Father Jeremiah and daughter Sarah squabble together like young puppies. Over crisp, verdant images of nature, of animals, streams and puddles, a mysterious, sensual female voice tells of her lover, who may be a person or may be the whole world. Enter Akin, there to help out for the summer. He’s left his wife and child at home – and taken off his wedding ring as a precaution. Soon the three of them are circling each other, watching, feeling watched and knowing that their watching is not going unwatched. Within this atmosphere, a charged romance develops between Sarah and Akin that carries both an erotic tension and vague feeling of menace. When Akin’s wife Drew comes for a visit, the situation explodes, harmless fantasies giving way to a violent nightmare.
Reporter: Matt Micucci.