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August 01, 2019



Amanda Kramer - 2018
Cleopatra Entertainment

Amanda Kramer has mentioned The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant and Repulsion as two films that were key influences on her own feature debut. Ladyworld is about eight women attending a birthday celebration, trapped after an earthquake encloses the house of the hostess. The influence of Fassbinder is the more obvious with the all female cast.

Food and water are limited. There is no electricity, nor cell phone service. The hostess, Olivia, attempts to have some sense of organization, with meetings held, and speaking determined by whomever is holding the designated piece of crystal. One of the eight girls mysteriously disappears. There is also concern about an unseen man who is supposedly stalking the young women. Four of the women for their own clique, with heavy eye brows, smeared kohl around the eyes, excessive lipstick, and splotches of white powder on the cheeks. There are territorial disputes and personal grudges. The breakdowns and schisms become more extreme, yet there is a point where you wonder if the young women actually want to escape.

What I did find most interesting in Ladyworld was the soundtrack. Rather than a traditional use of music, there are what sounds like the mewing of cats, squawking of birds, and electronic and industrial sounds. Between the abstract sounds and the ambiguous ending is the sense that what transpires should perhaps not be taken totally at face value. The use of sound recalls Luis Bunuel's use of cat's mewing in Belle de Jour. Here, instead of indicating what may or may not be a dream, the sounds are more suggestive of the tensions between the characters. That the film can be interpreted on different levels is to the credit of Ms. Kramer. One thing is certain, when push comes to shove, literally, these young women are hardly ladies.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at August 1, 2019 07:49 AM