Wetlands (2014) - David Wnendt
Eighteen year-old Helen is an eccentric teenager whose views on sexuality, personal hygiene, and orderly behavior couldn't be farther than the norm. Struggling with her parent's divorce, Helen spends most of her time with her friend Corinna, with whom she breaks every social taboo imaginable, as if to protest to the world her rebel status and disregard for convention. After a shaving accident, Helen lands in the hospital, where she has plenty of time to focus on reconciling her parents. It doesn't take long before Helen's rebel persona begins to make waves among the staff, with Robin, a male nurse, catching Helen's eye. David Wnendt's Wetlands is one of most strange and unique films about teenagedom I've ever seen. Very different than David Wnendt's previous film, Combat Girls, Wetlands is a much more visceral experience - full of energy and a playfull tone that is far different than the gritty realism of his previous effort. Full of energy and stylish excess, Wetlands uses an over-the-top character like Helen to personify the rebellious nature that comes with being a teenager. Wetlands is a film that is proud of its vulgarity, but what surprised me is the moments of tenderness it achieves even with its frenetic. Underneath Helen's rebellious, sexually charged nature lies a young woman who is hurt by her parents separation, and Wetlands explores this to a degree, but it certainly takes a backseat to stylish indulgence. David Wnendt's Wetlands is a perversely aggressive piece of film-making that's stylistically exhausting, capturing one of the most unique and repulsive young woman committed to celluloid in a long time.
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