Alice Springs Cinema Film Festival – “Beast”

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Moll, a young redheaded woman, puts on a yellow sundress and stares at herself in the mirror. Downstairs, guests gather for her birthday party. Moll’s shoulders hunch inwards, her arms are tense. It is as though her body revolts against taking up space, being visible. She stands on the sidelines of her own party like a wraith, sadness seeping out in moments when she thinks no one is looking. In an early voiceover, she states she has always been obsessed with killer whales, those huge creatures who are “always smiling.” It’s hard to associate this obsession with such a frail-looking put-upon young woman. By the end of “Beast,” Michael Pearce’s remarkable first feature, we more than understand.

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