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The Yellow Wallpaper (2022): a film review by Mark R. Leeper.

Jane, a writer and new mother, is sent by her doctor husband John to spend the summer at their sprawling rural home for rest and relaxation. He decorates her bedroom in a strange yellow pattern, and she gets fixated on it. While she is alone, she composes stories about a lady who is entrapped in wallpaper and must be rescued.

‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ seemed very much like a first film, almost an amateur production and evidence bears that out. In the end credits, there is a long list of people thanked for crowdfunding the film. Also, director K Pontuti has a Kevin Bacon number of infinity, meaning that no one acting in the film connects with people in other films or at least that they are all in an isolated island of films in the IMDb. Obviously, there are connections for the author of the original work, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, since there are about two dozen films based on her 1892 short story.

The story seems told as a series of vignettes, rather than a continuous narrative. There is very little dialogue, so the audience feels Jane’s isolation. Whether this was the plan or whether the shoestring budget meant recording more dialogue would have been too expensive is not clear. Pontuti uses extreme Dutch angles to the extent that Jane sometimes looks as though she should slide off the bed. They also photograph her face in close-up upside down.

John reminds me of Torvald in ‘A Doll’s House’. He calls his wife by various animal names eg ‘goose’ and wants her to be concerned only with the house and the children, not with her writing.

Released streaming 29th March 2022.

Rating: +1 (-4 to +4), or 6/10.

 

© Mark R Leeper 2023

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