I had the good fortune to catch a screening of Jason Banker and Amy Everson’s new indie Felt last week, and today I gladly add my voice to the chorus championing this fearless, crucial, bizarre piece of work. Heroically drawing on her own experiences with sexual trauma, Everson collaborated with director Banker to conceive a film that’d use her background as an experimental artist to critique the pervasive culture of phallocentricity currently in place. Amy plays a slightly fictionalized version of herself who crafts DIY suits of crude fabric and marker replicating the male anatomy, both as a coping mechanism and an aggressive assertion of her own sexual autonomy. Her creations are grotesque, unnerving, and difficult to look at—which is, naturally, the point.
Felt’s a confrontational film, constantly challenging its audience to get comfortable so that Everson can sneak up and bite them right in the hegemonic sensibilities. Searingly political and intimately personal, the film approaches the subject of rape without a modicum of shyness, restraint, or caviling. While studio executives furrow their brows over how to properly sell a female Ghostbusters picture, Everson’s burning the conventions of cinematic gender dynamics to the ground. With unfathomable violence, she depicts womankind’s tribulations and the reserves of inner strength through which they may overcome them.
But before things get gruesome in the film, Everson takes time to try a little tenderness. She’s more than intelligent enough to realize that also depicting a warm, healthy relationship between a man and a woman will bolster the legitimacy of the film’s critical framework, and so a fair portion of the second act is devoted to the blossoming romance between Amy and Kentucker Audley’s Ken. We’ve got a special treat for our readers today: The Dissolve is proud to run an exclusive preview clip from Felt that shows a rather beautiful moment between young lovers, which then twists into Everson’s characteristically bodily art installations. Take a look at the clip below, and if you’re so inclined, check out News Editor Rachel Handler’s writeup of the film’s red-band trailer.