There is a strangeness to “Knives and Skin” (2019) that makes it difficult to put into words precisely what it’s about and how it made me feel. Jenifer Reeder’s film is eerie, bright but dark, funny but upsetting. It puts you on edge but also has you really feeling for the people on screen. If you like films by Peter Strickland or David Lynch you’ll love it. If not, I recommend pushing your cinematic comfort zone. Fifteen year old Carolyn Harper (Raven Whitley) has an encounter with sexually aggressive Andy (Ty Olwin) which ends badly. She goes missing and the town is shaken. Her mother Lisa (Marika Engelhardt) slowly loses her mind but others in the community have just as tenuous a grip on reality.
Director Virginie Gourmel’s feature debut, “Cavale”, has the performances, the visual look, and the concept to be a great film, but it is ultimately thwarted by being an experience that’s all too simple and hollow. The film follows Kathy (Lisa Viance), a young girl who is thrown into a psychiatric facility by her father after her mother dies. Feeling trapped inside this new “prison” and being angry at her father for sending her away, Kathy decides to escape when a prime opportunity arises. However, she doesn’t leave alone as her two roommates, the wild Nabila (Yamina Zaghouani) and the shy Carole (Noa Pellizari), quickly follow her out of the door. Even with Nabila and Carole sidetracking her with their drug-fueled antics and abrasive personalities, Kathy is on a mission to confront her father and deal with their unresolved feelings.