Best BAFICI Take-Away: Coherence
Article by Sharon Salt.
Every year I go to BAFICI, and every year there’s one movie that I love so much, I want to take it home and cuddle with it and show it to all my friends. This year, that movie is Coherence.
And this year, I want all the more badly to bring it up and show it off to everyone I know, because I went alone. Of all the movies on my schedule, this was the one in which my boyfriend was least interested, this was the one to which I could not convince any of my friends to go, this was the one on which I alone seemed to be willing to place a bet of twenty-six pesos and two hours of my time. And I understand, because I, too, have seen my fair share of film festival let-downs. But guess what guys, it was worth it. I went alone, and it was great, and I was right.
The day of the screening – thinking maybe someone/anyone would be more inclined to watch with me were I to offer an opportunity to play Movie Theater at my apartment with free booze – I did a thorough search for torrents or ways to buy or stream a copy, but to no avail. So let me save you five minutes: trust me, it’s nowhere to be found (yet), but trust me, it’s worth the wait. Put it on your short list for another day.
From the trailer, you can see we’ve got some broken cell phones, a comet overhead, and a dinner party – and that’s all I can give you, really, without giving away the goods. But I think the words of James Ward Byrkit, director and writer, gave a good sense of what was to come. He was at another festival, so he wrote a note to be read before the screening, which said, as I here paraphrase: “This movie is a puzzle. If you can stay a step ahead, you will delight in having figured it out; if you can’t, you will delight in sharing your confusion with the characters.”
Though intriguing, this also scared me. Were all my friends right? Was I in for two hours of half-baked self-conscious and utterly pretentious mind-bending slop? Luckily, I was not.
Coherence is deftly written, beautifully shot, and acted by talented group with not a weak link among them. It was just scary enough that I jumped twice, and that I avoided a particularly ominous-looking curtain en route to my bed later that night, but I had no trouble actually falling asleep. (Let’s talk later about Inland Empire and how it stole two days of my life by way of insomnia – OH MY GAH.) Though nearly everything takes place in one house, it never feels cramped or negatively constrained by these limitations, and though the actors improvised nearly all of the script, they were intelligent, interesting, and even funny.
Kudos to the director, actors, and team that made this movie happen! And zero kudos to all my nay-saying friends! Add it to your short list immediately so you too can take it home, cuddle with it, and show it to everyone you know. It is worth the wait, and well worth a watch.