Screenplay: Natasha Kermani
Imitation Girl is truly special film to experience. While it is undoubtedly a science fiction film it feels much more like an edgy human drama than what you would commonly call sci-fi.
From the press release:
Imitation Girl is the lyrical telling of a mysterious being who arrives on Earth in the shape of a young woman. Taken in by Iranian immigrants, a brother and sister living in the American Southwest, Imitation forms an understanding of the strange species around her, and as she learns more about her new body and her companions, she comes to appreciate the beauty and the sadness of her new world. At the same time, Julianna, Imitation’s world-weary earthly double, knows both glitz and grit working as an entertainer in New York City, where her fraying life and relationships now threaten her dreams for an audition that might finally set her on a happier path. On learning of Julianna’s existence, Imitation heads to New York, where only by sacrificing themselves to each other can the cosmic twins complete a full portrait of a woman.
The very first thing you will notice upon the film opening is Travis Tips drop dead gorgeous photography. There are so many shots which could be printed, framed, and displayed in museums of nature photography. On static shots, in a few scenes, there is a very subtle camera rotation, or sway, which seems to simulate the very human trait of not being locked in place, we sway; it feels both natural and unnatural in the same breath. We do sway, but movies don’t, yet, it works to draw you into the moment.
Another strength of the cinematography, with direction and edit, is that the shots all are given room to breathe, they are longer and more graceful that most of the modern films which I have seen. This is incredible when you remember that the film clocks in at a brisk 84 minutes. While there are a few story beats which would have been nice to have fleshed out a bit more but that may have also removed some of the films charm.
I didn’t time it but it is possible that Lauren Ashley Carter was on screen for about 90% of the film. A film like that can live or die on performance; Imitation Girl, definitely, lives, breaths, and entrances the viewer. Carter switches between two characters, one a naive alien goo who takes its form after flowing over a nudie magazine with Julianna, Carter’s human character, who is an adult film performer and the second character. While portraying the two characters, while having an obvious visual difference, Carter is able to emote with a tender difference that don’t even need the hairstyle indicator to break up the two story lines. I am still hypnotized by it.
It is pretty clear that Natasha Kermani is a cinephile as she wrote and crafted a very tight film which stands as an excellent feature film as well as a love letter to film. I saw a clear line, and this could be the fault of genre, between this and The Man Who Fell to Earth and Under the Skin, but there were also tastes of Kelly Reichardt , Chantal Akerman, and maybe a little Bela Tarr. I am excited to see where she goes from here.
The film will be available on VOD on 3/16/18 and will be playing as part of Dread Central Presents on 4/19/2018. I very, very, highly recommend that you seek the film out. I know I certainly want to see it again. I also want the soundtrack, which was incredible.
Director: 10 – Cinematography: 10 – Edit: 5 – Parity: 9 – Main performance: 10 – Else performance: 5 – Score: 10 – Sound: 5 – Story: 7 – Script: 9 – Effects: 10 – Design: 7 – Costumes: 6 – Keeps interest: 10 – Lasting: 10