First Films with Josephine Decker
Butter on the Latch
Director: Josephine Decker
USA / 2013 / 72 min
Q&A with Josephine Decker moderated by Liz Rao
Former performance artist Josephine Decker’s stunning debut feature is a deeply subjective, mysterious and erotic portrait of a frantic young woman, Sarah (Sarah Small) who leaves the city for the apparent safety of a Balkan music camp hidden deep in the California woods. Once there she reconnects with a former friend, Isolde (played by Korean-American puppeteer Isolde Chae-Lawrence) and does some hilariously foul-mouthed female bonding – until she finds herself growing attracted to a hunky male camper, Steph (Charlie Hewson). Gradually her already-frayed grip on reality starts to unravel, as cinematographer Ashley Connor’s superb, disorienting camerawork and the swirling Balkan music become darker and more disorienting. Her personality finally shatters in a moment of transcendent violence that causes us to question whether we too have become lost in the deep, impenetrable forest of fear and desire.
Part Bergman’s Persona, part early David Lynch, Butter on the Latch is a tour-de-force of intensely visceral filmmaking intercut with moments of serene, startling poetry.