Most of the people at Cinefamily‘s sold out Sunday night premiere of “Wetlands” seemed to know what they were in for, but the reactions to the film made it clear that there was no way to expect what insanity the night had in store.
Actress Brie Larson hosted the advanced screening of the gross-out German dramedy, which was presented by the Cinefamily Women in Film and Television Group. She shared her passion about the feature, explaining how she met the film’s star, Carla Juri, during a premiere in Switzerland last year. After the two made a pact to see the other’s film – Larson had a leading role in 2013′s “Short Term 12″ – Larson was enthralled with Juri’s character and the unique perspective it gave on being female.
“I am so interested in all the aspects of what a woman is, because it’s so incredibly mysterious and bizarre,” she said. “I’ve seen so many depictions of sweet girls, of supportive girls, of beautiful girls – but this is a movie that’s kind of the exact opposite. It takes anything precious about being a woman and cracks it open and waves it around in front of you.”
The bundle of excitement and nerves was palpable in the audience after Larson’s comments, but the crowd couldn’t keep their disgust and discomfort to themselves once the lights went down.
And rightly so – the blunt dive into the dirty, bloody, and sex-driven life of teen Helen Memel is repulsive enough to make the most desensitized individual squirm. Praised by both Sundance and SXSW earlier this year, “Wetlands” demands attention and spares no apologies. It’s no surprise if everyone left the theatre feeling traumatized, especially the men, who might’ve looked forward to the controversial masturbation scenes but instead let out gagging noises throughout the movie.
A short string of tweets at the event documented my genuine jump from eager to speechless.
Despite the movie being central on Helen’s eroticism, the vibe of the content found a balance between reality and exaggeration, making the nudity less provocative and more neutral. Ironically, the angle was refreshing while the situations were definitely shocking.
Larson recognizes the strong negative and mixed feelings some have had to the picture, though she advocates it be viewed and discussed further, since it’s such a different kind of film. “I don’t know if this is what a woman is, I don’t think that this is necessarily what all movies should be, but I think it’s an aspect of something,” she said.
“I think it’s cool that they made this movie, it’s cool that we can watch this movie, it’s cool that we can hate this movie,” she added. “The movie exists, and I’m super happy about that.”
With a 90% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes – a generally rare occurrence – it deserves a chance.
Dip your toes in the sewage water by watching the trailer below.