Director Britni West’s collage of life in rural Montana will undoubtedly draw comparisons to the work of Terrence Malick. It is free flowing in form, beautifully shot, and its narrative is secondary to an overall feeling the film creates with different characters providing poetic voiceover in favour of dialogue.
The film shifts between several “protagonists” whose relationships to one another are gradually revealed yet ultimately inconsequential. The only familiar face is Alex Karpovsky (HBO’s Girls). Casting someone from a hit TV show seems an odd choice for this film featuring almost exclusively non-actors, as it takes you out of the documentary impression the rest of the film creates. His involvement likely played a part in securing the grants West received to make this film.*
How this film is received depends completely on each viewer’s own sensibilities. It is more a piece of abstract art than a story. Some people will be bored to death watching it and think it pretentious, while others will love it for its unique vision and lack of conformity. I fall somewhere in the middle. Tired Moonlight could develop a cult following, or this could be the last you ever hear of it. Neither fate would surprise me, but which way it goes probably hinges on what West does in the future.
Screens Friday, Jan 23, 3:35pm and Monday, Jan 26, 8:50pm
* In my interview with West I learned that this was not the case. Karpovsky was just a friend of hers whom she wanted to work with and actually joined the project quite late.