Directed by Benjamin Dickinson, starring Lindsay Burdge, Kate Lyn Shiel, Jen Kim, Samantha Jacober and Paul Manza
“The glue holding the film together is Adam Newport-Berra’s elegant hand-held cinematography, which captures changing shades of winter and the frightened faces in natural light with an astonishing intensity. The outdoor scenes of chopping wood and hunting, of running through the woods in a stiff cold wind, of animal blood on snow make you feel the beauty and indifference of nature.”
-New York Times
“Dickinson and talented DP Adam Newport-Berra take what might be described as an extreme-docu approach to introducing the residents of a house in rural upstate New York.”
Delicately lensed on 16mm by Adam Newport Berra, the film’s visual palette moves between the cold, washed out expanses of a winter day and the warm, cozy hues of rooms lit by firelight. Bold spikes of bright red make memorable appearances in the forms of a wool cap, a pair of boots and thin melting candles. Dickinson alternates between a vérité handheld camera that allows us to discover spaces as the characters move through them, and simple, deliberate formalism. When one technique interrupts another, it’s significant. In a film so light on dialogue, the aesthetics become the most vocal member of the conversation.
-Hammer to Nail
Cinematographer Adam Newport-Berra follows the devolution with an extraordinary eye for the outdoor palette’s shift from gold to grey to white, as life indoors becomes a shivering scramble for rice and crumbs. He has the same keen eye for suspicion and distrust in interior close-ups. Production values are high, a triumph given the rural logistics.
Cinematographer Adam Newport-Berra uses a painterly touch to give insight into the characters' thoughts and relay important sub-textual information. Shadows or beams of light that cross characters in what must have been due to choices made by the visual team and director, elicit a semiotic response in the viewer that is undeniable. Using sources like fire, sunlight piercing a shade, and a variety of others gives the film a polished look that aided the narrative and never interfered with it.