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By Elias Savada | January 18, 2014

While there is a glimpse of a story line in director-writer Lindsey Martin’s “Love Letter,” I’m wondering if it would be better suited for award consideration in the Experimental Program. It’s a fantasy cum tone poem about an 8-year-old girl, Basil (Molly McQuoid), a child challenged by the divorce of her parents. Living in a sometimes animated black-and-white, wood-paneled bedroom (black ink on white walls and floor), she befriends, sort of, an earthworm (real/animated/hand puppet) named Sandy, who helps her to understand an old love letter Molly’s father had written to her mother.

Martin, a Philadelphia-based film and video maker, in her own words, uses “hybrid narrative structures, home movie, animation and other traditional and non-traditional techniques.” That pretty much hits the nail on the head for “Love Letter.” Her work, which has screened both in the United States and abroad, is more attuned to her fine arts background than a generally accepted definition of film fiction. Sure, it’s a creative piece, but in an art house world.

The offbeat music/sound design, created by David Miranda Hardy, offers an occasional fly buzzing about, while the dialogue is sometimes thought out narration instead of spoken. The titular missive is read by the child in extreme closeup on the lower part of her face. It’s an oddly textured film in Basil’s broken world. A psychiatrist might better understand this dream of a movie, but, alas, it only left traditional ole me adrift.

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