The poster for this film is piece of stretchy, panty-hose like material split down the middle with a woman’s lips pressed out between them vertically. So, yeah, it looks like weird fleshy lady bits. That’s my impression. Fleshy lady bits.
Jason Banker’s Felt is a deeply weird, surprisingly touching movie about a woman who’s pissed at what it means to be a woman, and the trials and tribulations of her falling in love. There’s also a lot of creepy Lady Suits, cotton vaginas, and fabric penises. Artist Amy Everson plays a character named Amy, an iconoclastic artist obsessed, in the bad way, with the inherent differences between man and woman, and the power it affords men in our society’s dynamic. She meets a guy, Kenny (Kentucker Adler), who isn’t full of man stereotypes, and after ditching him on the side of the road and then randomly running into him wearing a chicken costume, they start to date. And the film, to this point abrasive and tense in a way where you think Amy’s behavior could lead, at any point, to some serious genitalia mangling, becomes sweet, a brief moment where the weird girl finds some form of happiness. What Banker does well, amongst many things as this film is weird and beautiful and touching all at the same time, is make the audience root for Amy’s happiness but at the same time, ask the question: by finding happiness is Amy betraying her artistic/moral values? It’s subtle and impressive, and when the film ends it’s a question that just keeps coming back. Amy Everson is a natural actor, touching on mumblecore, but able to sell both divisive sides of Amy’s personality. And that’s all that matters. This is Amy’s film. She’s surrounded by other characters, but they’re there merely to showcase the many facets of Amy’s weirdness, and what it means when those facets reach a critical point. People are going to accuse this film of pretentious art-house-ness, and it does dally in that sandbox, but it’s art-house with a strange, slightly rotten heart, and that’s more than you can ask for.
There are a lot of ways to artistically depict a penis. Just saying.
Felt is due out on VOD on July 21. If you’re in Austin, it’s at the Alamo Drafthouse now.