A New York couple heads out of the city to make art and commerce from the land in “Green.” Sophia Takal’s bold, uneasy study of jealousy out amid rural green boasts strong performances as well as gorgeous cinematography brimming with mood. When the pair meet a local woman in their verdant escape, complications pile on. Low-key, slow burn, the actor-writer-director shows ways to suggest the physical intensity of jealousy and feelings of possessiveness without simplistic signposts of plotting.Although there is a little on-the-nose-ness to teasing-out exchanges like “I don’t look at other women, I dunno, she’s just some fuzzy blur to me. She’s like an out-of-focus, uh, image”; “That’s even more suspicious than if you’d said she was pretty.” For the most part, however, the dialogue adroitly draws out the increasingly dramatic emotional dynamic between the smart, not-so-smart protagonists. (Takal indicates the personal nature of her story with this remark: “When confronted with women I have viewed as more successful or beautiful than myself, I have tended to experience a violent storm of conflicting emotions. The desire to destroy them has coexisted with feelings of guilt regarding these destructive impulses, creating a painful paradox within me.”) Nandan Rao’s cinematography studies the space between characters, and even the space between their thoughts, with suggestive, off-kilter framings and languorous but pointed camera moves. With Kate Lyn Sheil (“The Color Wheel”), Takal, Lawrence Michael Levine, and Alex Ross Perry (“The Color Wheel”). 73m. (Ray Pride)
“Green” opens Friday at Facets. A trailer is below.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.