Wednesday, June 06, 2012
"Helena from the Wedding" shows up at a "cabin in the woods"
Occasionally, filmmakers like to place characters in a confined or remote rural setting and let them show their true selves. In Joseph Infantolino’s “Helena from the Wedding” (2010), newlyweds Alex and Alice (Lee Tergesen and Melanie Lynskey) invite their “friends” to a weekend-long New Year’s party at their “cabin in the woods” (April 15, 2012) in the Catskills. It seems that Alex, presented as a new playwright, is actually on the skids, having been bounced out of the law profession and probably unable to sell his life’s story, and it’s a little surprising that the wedding happened at all, given the lack of passion. (How can they still afford the cabin?) Soon, a particular guest who had been a bridesmaid at the wedding, Helena (Gillian Jacobs) arrives and provides distraction, not only for Alex but other male guests.
Straight married people can go after each other, and that will happen over the weekend, sometimes over a Backgammon board, sometimes in pickup truck cabins hiding cocaine to snort. The police may not be so far off.
I still remember a gay cabin trip in West Virginia in December 1990 that was nothing like this. The game was Global Pursuit, and the menu was Moroccan chicken.
There are other oddities: why is it necessary to relieve oneself in the woods? (The cabin would certainly have a decent septic system, at least pre-Irene.) Why do men think they need hunting rifles for protection on a “hike”?
The official site is here.
Other films for comparison are "The Ice Storm" (Fox, 1997), and Thom Best's "Ice Men" (Wolfe, 2004). As for the name "Helena", don't forget the British black satire "Boxing Helena" (1995) where body parts roll.
As the monthly short, Film Movement includes the 13-minute Norwegian skit, “Awaiting Examination" (“I vantag pa examinering”), by Elisabet Gustafsson. In a future fascist society, two young people come to terms with their need to “prepare” for inspection by the powers that be. The title of the film reminds me of IBM’s “awaiting execution” on mainframe computers.