Sugar – Sundance Festival

Reynold Reynolds, Patrick Jolley, Samara Golden
Sugar, USA 2005
32min video transferred from 16mm

Music, J.G. Thirlwell;
Sound designers, Bruce Odland, Sam Auinger.
Actress: Samara Golden

A young woman descends into madness in a gripping one-hour looped film by Reynold Reynolds and Patrick Jolley. That’s what seems to happen, anyway, as the film’s nonlinear narrative and mix of grainy black-and-white and lucid color tend to confuse what is real and what is hallucinated or dreamed.

By turns funny, sad, mysterious and scary, the film’s events take place in a squalid studio apartment. A young woman played by Samara Golden arrives carrying a suitcase and begins cleaning up. At one point, she extracts a corpse resembling her from behind a radiator screen and tends to it as though preparing it for a funeral. In other scenes the room violently shakes and water starts to flood it. Light bulbs pop and overloaded electrical connections crackle and buzz. Finally, she transfers her doppelganger’s body from the refrigerator to the suitcase she came in with and departs.

Film students will detect references to famous movies — Roman Polanski’s ”Repulsion” most conspicuously. But because Ms. Golden plays her role with such understated earnestness, the film isn’t just an arch exercise in appropriation. It immerses you in a harrowing dark night of the soul.
-KEN JOHNSON (New York Times- December 23, 2005)