2012 American Film Festival in Wrocław
By Anna Bielak | November 17, 2012
Writers: Ricky Shane Reid, Kentucker Audley
Starring: Kentucker Audley, Lindsay Burdge, Heather Andersen, Ronald Thomas
For many good reasons, White Fox Mask is a mesmerizing piece of art; but for as many equally important ones — it may be considered to be boring or rather tiring. Ricky Shane Reid’s second feature film is inspired both by the great Avant-garde of the late twenties and Andrey Tarkovskiy’s metaphysical thrillers. And what I like in White Fox Mask — and would like to focus on — is this peculiar duality that appears within the plot; the selfhood of its main characters and connotations which echo through my head.
Following those two paths, I see a surrealist-like artist from Jean Cocteau’s films and the main protagonist from Tarkovskiy’s Solaris, both of whom possess the lead character of White Fox Mask, Federico’s (Kentucker Audley) mind. Do we know who this man really is? All that is unveiled about Federico’s past is that he is the singer of an indie band; living alone, dreaming about a girl he saw during one of his gigs. Vivienne (Lindsay Burdge) is even more mysterious than Federico seems to be at the beginning of the story. She is playing games with him — and she is good at it. Federico would like to follow every single step Vivienne takes, if only she would not be so perfect at vanishing every once in a while. There are sequences during which fantasies synthesize with rough reality and there is no way to tell the difference; Federico is as lost at times as we, the viewers, may be.
Federico wanders backward and forward in his reality, which slowly becomes haunted by the ghosts of any decrepitating relationships that the people around him have ever had. There is accordionist among them, as well as a girl (Heather Andersen) wearing a white, ethereal dress and an enigmatic white fox mask. It seems that Reid wants to balance the reality and trance-like world. We wait for the fox mask girl a bit too long; later, we would like to get rid of her. She is the figure who should bring reminiscences of pagan rituals, but she is nothing more than a forgery. Figuratively, she should be the promise of fulfilling erotic passion; yet, she is more of a death-like symbol. She may deliver transgression within the story; but her face is covered from the very beginning, and it remains an empty object until the very end. There is no change for her. The one and only thing that is really crossed over is the frontier between hallucination and reality.
It is easy to lose track and fall into the chaotic madness when something like this happens; yet, the most thrilling aspects of White Fox Mask are those bizarre moments of anxiety that we feel thanks to Federico’s insecure look, Kentucker Audley’s fine acting and Dorothea Tachler’s alluring music pieces.