It Felt Like Love
2013, 82 min, U.S.A., Dir: Eliza Hittman

In this 2013 Sundance Film Festival premiere, fourteen-year-old Lila is experiencing an ennui-filled Brooklyn summer. She awkwardly wears a Kabuki-esque mask of sunscreen at the beach and plays third wheel to Chiara, her more experienced friend, and Chiara’s boyfriend, Patrick. Determined to have a love interest of her own, a bravado-filled Lila pursues Sammy, a tough but handsome older boy. Though Sammy doesn’t respond to her overtures, he doesn’t reject her either, and Lila—unable to resist spinning delusional fables of a relationship with him—manipulates herself deeper into his world. When her desperation and posturing carry her too far into unfamiliar territory, her inexperience is exposed, and she is forced to confront reality.

In this film shot from Lila’s point of view and constructed with precise—sometimes startling—imagery and intimate moments, first-time feature writer/director Eliza Hittman confidently constructs a viewing experience that is completely subjective. Bolstered by a perfectly modulated lead performance from Gina Piersanti, It Felt Like Love unflinchingly reveals some of the rawest moments of girlhood in an authentic story of burgeoning identity and sexual awakening. - K.Y.


MARIEKE, MARIEKE
2010, Sophimages, 85 min, Belgium, Dir: Sophie Schoukens

Young Marieke works at a Brussels chocolate factory during the day, and at night half-heartedly entertains relationships with a number of older suitors. When Jacoby, a book editor searching for Marieke's late father's unfinished manuscript, arrives on the scene, Marieke's world is turned upside down. Does she love Jacoby? Will her relationship with Jacoby push her emotionally distant mother even farther away from her? In French with English subtitles.


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