Imagine for a second Danish "auteur" Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) directing the new Hunger Games movie. It's not gonna happen any time soon but PINK ZONE might be the closest example of such an exciting movie mix. The sci-fi teen drama is already an important film on the festival circuit, proving that genre movies are not limited to either lazy no-budget exploitation films or brainless blockbusters. PINK ZONE shocks as much as it makes you think about powerful themes like the loss of identity in today's teenage world.
I was lucky enough to be among the few to be invited to PINK ZONE's world premiere held at the Chinese Theatre for the amazing Dances With Films Festival. This movie is a complete and immersive experience both new and full of references. The way Benjamin Walter, PINK ZONE's Director/Writer/Producer/DP (we should call him a "super auteur" !), shot the movie is a total uppercut to the face. It's fresh, bold and highly stylized drama. But it's also very much a character-driven piece. Walter tells the press he relied a lot on improv. Which translates in the movie into a raw and poetic aesthetic. In that way, the photography acts like an opponent to the main story. Walter plays with the beautiful, well-lit setup of an old Hollywood classic and brings violence and chaos into that with his unpredictable characters. Emily (incredibly strong, Jayna Sweet is a revelation) first appears as a brat but gets more likable as she gets closer to the mean girls of the PINK ZONE. Matt Cooper, who plays Dad, and Julian Brand, who plays Brad, created with their director some of the best "bad guys we love to hate" in a while.
PINK ZONE is definitely not for everyone, and reminds us of the best first features of visual storytellers like David Lynch, Roger Corman, Gaspard Noé, Stanley Kubrick and Nicolas Winding Refn, movies that felt fresh, bold and were divisive. This film will haunt you for days.
PINK ZONE will be opening the Action On Film International Film Festival, on August 22nd at the Monrovia Krikorian Cinema 12 (410 South Myrtle Avenue Monrovia, CA 91016). Red Carpet at 8PM, Film at 8:30PM. Q&A to follow.