By Mary Thornton
I'm of the opinion that any story that can be told can be told best with gripping visuals, and thats exactly/entirely what I got from the experimental films at BFF. Some of the highlights included a 3 minute dance through Canal Street, a Netherlands film about a one-of-a-kind tourist attraction, and a stage performer stumbling through a dream. I've always been someone who enjoys my entertainment a little on the twisted side, and there was definitely content there for me. I especially liked one animated short with a clear nod to David Lynch's Eraserhead.
Among the narrative features of the festival, there was a couple running themes I noticed. Themes of family, crime, and families involved in crime came up in more than a couple of the feature films. What interested me most of all was the way different filmmakers approached scenes and stories of violence and managed to accomplish very unique and often profound experiences with their movies in approximately ninety minutes. One such movie was Neal Dhand's Crooked and Narrow.
I may have mentioned that I am a fan of horror, but I will fully acknowledge that its not a genre typically associated with profound social issues. However, when I attended what turned out to be the world premiere of this scary movie from India I knew this was a movie that deserves to be talked about. Actually, a lot of the movie from the premise to the vintage jump scares and shrieking soundtrack brought me back to classic slasher films but as the director Vishal Furia and his team explained after the showing, this movie was inspired by something other than a serial babysitter murderer. I don't think there's anything I can explain about the message of the movie that wouldn't be better served by watching it with the informative text at the end, but it deserves to be noted for its bravery in taking a serious and grim modern-day horror and giving it front-and-center treatment in what is still an entertaining film for horror fans like myself. I'm glad to say the Brooklyn Film Festival judges apparently agreed with me, and the filmmakers brought a BFF Spirit Award home with them to India. I shall be keeping an eye out for this movie to get a U.S. release after the festival run and I hope anyone reading this does as well. It is definitely worth watching, either for the foreign take on horror storytelling or for its relevant social commentary.