SXSW Day 2 | A Vanishing Fog, Linoleum, The Cellar, & The Girl from Plainville

The 2022 SXSW film festival is going strong after completing Day 3 (Day 2, virtually for me) of its programming. Today was filled with a slow, methodical burn, more Midnighters, and one of my most anticipated television show premieres of 2022. To say it was an exciting day is an understatement! Here is my round up of South by Southwest Day 2.

1) A Vanishing Fog | Director: Augusto Sandino

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: The first feature film to be shot in the mysterious and endangered Páramo of Sumapaz, a crucial territory for the ecological balance of the western hemisphere, A VANISHING FOG draws on longstanding Latin American traditions of cinematic surrealism to tell the story of F, a solitary explorer and guardian of the mountains, condemned by his fate. He strives to protect the mystical and fragile ecosystem he inhabits while caring for his ailing father. Principal Cast: Sebastian Pii, Mario de Jesús Viana, Christian Ballesteros

Review: Augusto Sandino’s tale of duty and experience is a methodical look at the life of an explorer and guardian of mountains in Latin America. F yearns to travel away from the impeding violent encroachment that plagues his ecosystem, but he soon realizes that it means a heartrending goodbye to the only life he’s known. A Vanishing Fog is trippy and dream-like with amazing work from cinematographer Gio Park. There’s also a great display of creativity with very little dialogue. Instead, everything we learn about the main character F is by statements that flash up across the screen. I’m not sure it was as effective as it could have been, but there’s no denying the beauty that this film portrays about Páramo of Sumapaz, perseverance, and family.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

2) Linoleum | Director: Colin West

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: When a satellite falls from orbit and crashes into the suburban home of a dysfunctional family in Ohio, the father seizes the opportunity to fulfill his dream of becoming an astronaut by re-building it into his own rocket ship. While his wife and daughter believe he’s experiencing a midlife crisis, surreal events begin to unfold around him, forcing him to reconsider how interconnected their lives truly are… Principal Cast: Jim Gaffigan, Rhea Seehorn, Katelyn Nacon, Gabriel Rush, Amy Hargreaves, West Duchovny, Michael Ian Black, Tony Shalhoub, Elisabeth Henry, Roger Hendricks Simon

Review: In this story about love and family, writer-director Colin West provides audiences with a creative and endearing dynamic among his characters. The story packs plenty of emotional punches by the film’s end too. And while the build-up and lead to the film’s reveal is a bit peculiar and awkwardly paced, the payoff and end result were worth it. Mark this as a must-see!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

3) The Cellar | Director: Brendan Muldowney

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: About a week after the Woods family move in to Xaos House, their daughter Ellie goes missing during a power cut. Ellie’s mother Keira investigates and finds that the walls have strange symbols engraved into them. After a number of terrifying supernatural experiences, she comes to the conclusion that the house took Ellie. Principal Cast: Elisha Cuthbert, Eoin Macken, Abby Fitz, Dylan Fitzmaurice-Brady

Review: Everything in me was against Brendan Muldowney’s The Cellar. But about halfway through this horror flick, I could not fight my excitement any longer. The film is filled with classic horror film tropes but ramps up its creativity and excitement along the way. I absolutely loved this ending too despite it not going “all in” on a certain feature. It gave me just enough to recognize how much of a fun time this was.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

4) The Girl from Plainville | Director: Lisa Cholodenko

Courtesy of SXSW & Hulu

Synopsis: Hulu’s “The Girl from Plainville” is inspired by the true story of Michelle Carter’s unprecedented “texting-suicide” case. Based on the Esquire article of the same name by Jesse Barron, the limited series explores Carter’s relationship with Conrad Roy III and the events that led to his death and, later, her conviction of involuntary manslaughter. Principal Cast: Elle Fanning, Chloë Sevigny, Colton Ryan, Cara Buono, Kai Lennox, Norbert Leo Butz

Review: One of my most anticipated television shows of the year is The Girl from Plainville, and the first episode did not disappoint. With a story as shocking as the premise of this series, it’s hard not to become engrossed by everything it has to offer. Additionally, Elle Fanning’s performance in just the first episode is enough to get me hooked ahead of its premiere date on March 29, 2022. I can see this becoming one of Hulu’s best series. I cannot wait to see how it all unfolds.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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