It’s Always That Feeling Image

It’s Always That Feeling

By Perry Norton | April 9, 2024

It’s Always That Feeling by Saudi-born, New York-based writer and director Gigi Hozimah takes the shape of an “experimental chamber drama,” and it makes a good case for the form on a number of levels. The story is about Harry (Steven Wright), his current lover, Dahlia (Maritza Vives), and his ex, Maya (Vanessa Pottiger). The film is bound almost entirely to a single location, a stately loft apartment.

Hozimah’s script is a mishmash of romantic longing and disintegration. In the opening shot, Maya sits on a swing in Harry and Dahlia’s apartment like a ghost. Harry reads in bed, Dahlia pecks away at a typewriter, and Maya describes how she was spurned by Harry the instant she declared her love for him. It’s a strange scene, and one that sets up the drama well. However, several stretches do not have such intriguing action, with the characters sometimes seeming to mark time with lengthy speeches containing varying degrees of profundity. But everyone within gives nice performances.

Vives gets most of the screen time. She is from Argentina and her heavily accented English needed more support from sound and ADR than was perhaps available. For example, there’s a scene where her character breaks down convincingly into tears. But the words between her sobs are all but indistinguishable for several minutes. This is further frustrated by the staging, with her back to us, so her expression can barely be read. But the long stretches of time she has are not wasted. One moment, Hozimah blocks her into wide shots with the subtle grace of a dancer; the next, we have riveting and intimate close-ups. Vives brings life and sensitivity to her role.

“…Maya describes how she was spurned by Harry the instant she declared her love for him.”

Pottiger impresses throughout It’s Always That Feeling. She unleashes potent sexual energy in her scenes with Vives and even plays a couple of songs on piano and guitar. Rounding out the leads is Wright, who gives a nicely introspective performance. The best moments here are when Harry’s life barely intrudes between the two women, and their attention turns to one another.

It’s all very well photographed and edited by Christian Pinto. Nobody seems to be credited for the sound, and the film definitely seems to have suffered as a result. The issues with sound contribute to a wider problem which is the plot can be hard to make out. A great deal of the narrative is characters talking, either to the camera or between themselves. Consequently, a thread about grief felt hard to decipher and seemed like it was intruding upon the foreground action between Maya and Dahlia. 

Overall, It’s Always That Feeling puts fine talents to good use. Hozimah gives her cast a forum to shine within a nicely staged drama. It’s too bad about the audio issues, though.

It's Always That Feeling (2024)

Directed and Written: Gigi Hozimah

Starring: Maritza Vives, Vanessa Pottiger, Steven Wright, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

It's Always That Feeling Image

"…gives his cast a forum to shine within a nicely staged drama."

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