SXSW Film Review: 'Wetlands'

German import gives new, improved meaning to 'pain in the ass'

Any film that references Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Rosemary's Baby, phallic vegetable coitus, and longboarding is unique.

But what takes director David Wnendt's scatological slice-o'-the-bad-life to the next level is its subtextual layers of love, melancholy, and an overwhelmingly punk rock attitude. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cringe, you'll gag, and you'll almost certainly fall in love with your naughty bits all over again.

Carla Juri turns in a scarily amazing performance as Helen, a nymphy and nymphomaniacal teenager focused on everything anti-hygienic when it comes to her nether regions. With her radiant, childlike smile and aggressively impulsive sexuality, she's like a hornier, crazier version of Pan, and she revels in it.

Wetlands has a barely-controlled vibe that recalls Trainspotting but from a decidedly Berliner-riot grrrl perspective. Cinematographer Jakub Bejnarowicz hypnotizes you with borderline obscene imagery, while the whip-smart soundtrack both batters and soothes with scuzzy, anthemic tracks from the likes of Peaches, Joan Jett, and Thee Headcoatees. And, truly, this is by far the best first-date movie of the festival. S/he will either love you or hate you for taking them to see it, but whatever happens, your potential paramour will react (quite possibly all over your lap, and maybe even in a good way).


Wetlands


SXGlobal
Saturday, March 8, 7pm, Alamo Slaughter
Monday, March 10, 9:30pm, Alamo Ritz
Wednesday, March 12, 9:45pm, Topfer (buzz screening)
Friday, March 14, 6:45pm, Alamo Ritz

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

South by Southwest, SXSW, SXSW 2014, SXSW Film 2014, Wetlands, David F. Wnendt, Carla Juri, review, first date

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