Tuesday, March 28, 2023

PETROL (2022)New Directors New Films 2023

Eva is a film student working on her latest film meets a performance artist and becomes intrigued. They eventually move in together but what exactly is going on?

If you want answers to what is going on stay away from PETROL. Not only doesn’t it give any answers, it also defies genre. At times it looks like a drama. At other times it’s a horror film. It uses the tropes of a lot of different genres but doesn’t fit into any of them.  This is a head trip of a film that will haunt you for days afterward as the kinks in the tale of two women force you to reconsider what you thought you saw over and over again in the days after you see it.

All of the reviews I read after seeing the film in the hope of finding clarity mentioned the back of the head mirror shot, but the truth is that’s the showiest moment in the film. The truth of the matter is the whole things is just off in the best sort of a way. The film looks like a Euro thriller from the 1970’s but clearly isn’t. You have shots that in a different film would signify horror or something else, but here within the narrative they have no easily assignable meaning. PETROL is like looking at a world like our own but two steps to the left. There isn’t anything specifically wrong but we know we aren’t home.

I can't explain it, and I'm not going to try. You just have to buy a ticket and take a ride.

What a joy it is to watch a film that treats its audience like an adult and refuse to dumb down its tale. This is the best sort of cinematic storytelling because it stays with you and opens up new ways of seeing the world.

Three weeks since I saw the film I still don’t have answers, only a burning desire to see the film yet again in order to make another go at sorting out the deeper meaning of it all.

Easily one of the best and most enjoyable films at this year’s New Directors New Films and 2023 as well.

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