“You’re unlikely to see a more peculiar debut than co-directors Bingham Bryan and Kyle Molzan’s sneakily cryptic For the Plasma, the only world premiere at BAMcinemaFest this year,” writes Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn. “Set in a solitary lakeside cabin in Maine and its surrounding forests, this strange, muted science fiction story suggests Jacques Rivette‘s Celine and Julie Go Boating by way of David Lynch…. The dialogue features abrupt references to Proust and other existential musings that emphasize the movie’s otherworldly quality, but it never loses the overarching serenity of its environment.”
The film “delivers a dry New England strain of crazy, set in a serene seaside village in Maine,” writes the New Yorker‘s Richard Brody. “Helen (Rosalie Lowe), a forest-fire surveillance officer, ropes Charlie (Anabelle LeMieux), her old friend and new assistant, into an antic scheme. Helen captures supernatural intimations from the video screens with which she monitors the landscape; she has based successful stock-market predictions on them and seeks Charlie’s help in taking the project to the next level. Paranoid moods emerge from Helen’s incantatory explanations and occult doodles on a newspaper’s financial pages, as well as from Charlie’s eerie encounters with surveillance cameras in the wild.”
For the Plasma is the “most beguiling, unclassifiable entry” in the BAMcinemaFest 2014 lineup, suggests Melissa Anderson, writing for Artforum. “Most of Helen and Charlie’s conversations are delivered with zero affect until a raging blowup between the two occurs late one night, never to be acknowledged afterward. For the Plasma is a modest project of big ideas: about solitude, collaboration, conspiracy, magical thinking.”
“There’s a good bit of Darren Aronofsky’s Pi in this story,” finds Joe Reid at the Atlantic. “The Brit Marling influence is there, maybe some David Lynch, even a bit of Nicole Holofcener talky-female-friends influence. It all feels decidedly low-fi, the actors even coming across as less-polished versions of who even indie movies might cast (I kept hearing Greta Gerwig and Mamie Gummer’s voices), but there’s enough genuine intrigue to keep the story moving along.”
Henry Stewart talks with Bryant and Molzan for Brooklyn Magazine.
Update, 6/20: For Christopher Bourne, writing at Twitch, “there’s too much here that feels undeveloped and not fully worked out.”