«Winfield Historical Times…And Other Oddities» by young filmmaker Julia Cowle is an enchanting show that can be successfully shown both on TV and on the Internet. It is hard to believe that this film was made by a student as a thesis film. According to the author’s idea, this film is the pilot of a TV series. However, it is also an excellent sample of web series.
The main character of the series is a teenage Chloe (Talia Ryder). She is a sociable and funny girl who lives in a small town. One morning, she will have to carry out a quest to catch a newspaper thief. Investigating this frankly funny crime, Chloe introduces us closer to the unusual characters of her town. The ending of the film is unpredictable, ironic, and enchanting.
The rising star of American cinema Natalia Ryder demonstrated brilliant acting. Her plasticity and emotions are very organically intertwined with the style and mood of the film. Moreover, she creates a surprisingly bright image and she does not overplay.
The director chooses an ironic and buffoonish style. All the characters are deliberately funny and caricatured. At the same time, each image is thought out and carefully spelled out. These are not cardboard characters. Such characters can be found not only in the American but also, for example, in the Russian hinterland.
Grotesque and irony very often prevent empathize with the characters because of the excessive conventionality. Another byproduct of comedy is a set of gags instead of plot. The director of «Winfield Historical Times…» avoids these problems in a surprising way. Yes, there are conventions and gags in the film. But it is done so inventively, so witty and fresh as if no one has ever made such comedies before.
In a sense, this is a new language of cinema. Yes, breaking the fourth wall technique has been used in movies countless times. Julia Cowle does it in a new way. In her film, the destruction of the fourth wall is not required for the comedic effect. In fact, when the hero looks into the camera while talking to the audience, it allows him to look at the situation from the side, giving rise to an ironic effect. Cowle uses this method creating a new way of storytelling. Her film combines traditional cinema and the aesthetics of social networks. «Winfield Historical Times…» is a detective story told in the language of Instagram and TikTok. It feels like we watching not just a new movie, but a movie of the future.
Now we absorb the aesthetics of short funny videos with mother’s milk and we know video bloggers much better than directors of classical cinema. In our time, we are present at the birth of a new cinema and a new cinema language. There are no longer mandatory lists of movies that every cultured person should watch. At best, such movies may be interesting only to students of film schools. And most likely, they will not be able to take much from there. We live in a world of targeting and tags. There are no longer mandatory art objects that are mandatory for everyone. The viewers watch what they find for themselves, and they don’t care that someone at the top has identified a set of mandatory masterpieces. Already now, you can live your entire life in a sci fi, horror or (why not) art-house ghetto without leaving it.
Julia Cowle showed amazing skill as a comedian. At the same time, her film has bright artistic merits. She, along with her team thought of everything: from the details of the costumes to the camera movements. It would be interesting to see not only the serial production but also a full-length comedy by Julia Cowle.