MdFF Picks: Period blood, ’80s sing-alongs, and feelz in ‘Knives & Skin’

“Knives And Skin” remixes and reckons with the ’80s and that’s what sets it apart from a lot of other moody movies and television shows retromaniacally looking back to look forward. There are the easy comparisons here, “Twin Peaks” because this is also about a strange little town and how a missing (dead) young woman makes it all a little stranger and “Donnie Darko” or “Stranger Things” because of its wistfulness and ambition—though really, it looks like a Chromatics video and it feels like a Chromatics album (this is the highest of praise, tbh). And “Knives and Skin,” isn’t made by a dude like most 80s stuff, so it affords teens, especially teen girls, a lot more sophistication and agency. They are allowed to be soft and hard here.

“You treat girls like shit,” one character tells the football creep who is responsible (or let’s just say more responsible) for the missing girl and also tells off every hunk and most nerds in high school movies for decades in the process. If “Knives And Stars” is like “Twin Peaks” it’s like “Twin Peaks” if the entire town was full of Leland Palmers. One character sells her mom’s used underwear to people in the town to “builders, bankers, lawyers, doctors, dads, my history teacher,” she tells mom when mom asks who buys them. A lot of the dialogue is like that, punchy, funny, noir-ish, poetic, cruel. As the school choir sings The Go-Gos’ ‘Our Lips Are Sealed,’ the missing girl’s mom tears up and they stop. She cries and tells them, “Don’t stop, finish the song.” A student stares back and says, “It’s over” in that matter-of-fact duhhhhhh way teens can be.

Things are mercurial here. More like how high school really is than how it’s usually portrayed in movies. Folks float between cliques and most people are forgettable and only a few are legitimately outsiders (also the world of “Knives And Skin” is defiantly outside the extremely white world of a lot of movies about teenage suburbia). And director Jennifer Reeder expands that liminal adolescent feeling to every part of the movie and the swirling complicated plot and the movie hits a fever pitch and then another one and characters spin out of control and the lighting and set design are candy-colored Jodorowsky ecstatic realism and “Knives And Skin” tenses up and refuses catharsis or at least, gives it to you in strange, oblique ways.

Two young women in love across town from one another both sing Modern English’s ‘I Melt With You,’ their faces melting together through gentle dissolves. In a touching “Atlanta”-esque scene, two young black teens flirt, the boy pounding a drum set at her in the yard, and they both agree, “homecoming is for dickheads.” A stunning sequence where the missing dead girl sings Naked Eyes’ ‘Promises Promises’ in her marching band outfit, limp in the grass, her face gray and decayed. A monologue during a school assembly about period blood all over a “Beauty & The Beast” blanket is a quiet highlight. Teen confessional, entry-level flirting, and viscera collide.

“Knives And Skin” is screening on Saturday, May 11 at 10 p.m. at BBox at MICA Gateway and on Sunday, May 12 at 4:30 p.m. at Parkway 3. For more information on MdFF go here.

60 Comments
  1. QpUlQM Very helpful info specifically the last part I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  2. Pink your blog submit and loved it. Have you at any time imagined about visitor publishing on other associated blogs related to your site?

  3. I simply want to say I’m newbie to blogs and absolutely savored your website. Likely I’m likely to bookmark your blog . You certainly come with amazing posts. With thanks for sharing your web site.

  4. Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is magnificent, let alone the content!

  5. I simply want to say I’m new to blogs and definitely savored your page. Almost certainly I’m want to bookmark your site . You absolutely come with terrific well written articles. Many thanks for revealing your web site.

  6. I simply want to tell you that I’m beginner to blogging and site-building and seriously enjoyed this web page. Probably I’m planning to bookmark your blog . You definitely come with superb well written articles. Thank you for sharing with us your blog.

  7. That is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise info Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!

  8. I truly appreciate this post. I have been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You ave made my day! Thank you again.

  9. Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great, let alone the content!

  10. Hi are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own. Do you need any coding knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  11. Good day! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog. Is it very hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Thanks

  12. Undeniably consider that that you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the web the simplest thing to take note of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while other folks consider issues that they just don’t recognise about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , other people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  13. Wonderful blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.