A dark beauty of a film about two young girls in Reno, Nevada burrowing into their friendship. Effortless in atmosphere and feeling, it’s a quiet film, sparse in dialogue, and stunningly simple. The two friends spend their summer in familiar spaces — their room, at the gas station drinking Slurpees, walking through thunderstorms, sitting in front of AC units to combat the sweltering heat — but something has been left undiscussed.
If it wasn’t the first shot, it would come as a surprise that the beautiful and innocent-looking teenager sits on the floor of her pink bedroom and cuts herself. But it’s treated like everything else in the film — it isn’t falsely magnified — the images and moments provide their own weight. And the sound too, the sound of the AC unit, or the rolling thunder against the Reno mountains. It all adds up to a powerfully evocative experience.
The delicate and natural lead performances from Sasha Frolova and Rachel Trachtenburg are subtly touching. And it’s beautifully shot and sharply edited. Directed by Matthew Paley (who has yet to make a feature), Exteriors is a tremendous atmospheric experience -- one of the best shorts of the year so far. Premiered at BFI London Film Festival. (11 minutes) More info at Yankee Division. Starring SASHA FROLOVA and RACHEL TRACHTENBURG. Directed by MATTHEW PALEY. Written by ALEXANDER YAN. Produced by JAKE TERESI and ALEXANDER YAN. Cinematography by WILL BASANTA. Edited by JAY LEWIS. Production Design by EVAN MRVA. Sound Design by RUSSELL GORSKY.