Vermont Int’l Film Festival: reviewed

Sidney King’s “Pearl Diver,” which followed the story of two sisters who became distant after the murder of their mother, was one of the films featured in the Vermont International Film Festival’s series, “Cutting-Edge Indie Films” Hannah, one of the sisters, is a city-dwelling writer while her sister Marian lives a quieter life on a farm with her husband and daughter, abiding by Mennonite traditions. The two sisters are forced to put their differences behind them when Hannah moves in with Marian after a freak accident on the farm leaves Marian’s six-year-old daughter seriously disfigured. In the interactions between Hannah and Marian, the audience is aware of the events surrounding their mother’s death through a series of flashbacks. The two sisters alternate between moments of tenderness and tension, which makes for a compelling story. Although at times throughout “Pearl Diver” the dialog seems slightly unconvincing, the story is effective as a whole because of its coherent delivery. One of the strongest points of the film is its cinematography. The pastoral beauty of the Indiana farmland is depicted in stunningly colorful shots of sunsets and sunrises over cornfields and farmhouses. Mark Covino, a recent graduate of Burlington College, brought to the festival his short “Emily’s Addition.” It is a story of a man who works a job he detests and finds his life generally unfulfilling. The only real excitement in his life is a recurring dream of his in which a beautiful girl comes to him in his sleep. He becomes obsessed with this dream and is determined to find her, although his search only leads to tragedy in the end. The main character’s psychiatrist is an alcoholic who drinks on the job and wears a watch that has a picture of Sigmund Freud on it and without numerals. Another humerous aspect of the film is that the protagonist wears hip-hop gear in his dreams, while being nothing more than a shirt-and-tie-wearing office geek in reality. While making a serious statement about individuality, Covino’s film is rich in humor. The character quirks keep the film light and memorable.