By Woojung Kim, Staff Writer
Winner of the Audience Award for Narrative Films at the Sidewalk Film Festival, “Princess Cyd,” the new film from director Stephen Cone, is illustrated with a wide range of warm colors, evoking empathy from viewers as they reminisce over past summers.
The film begins mysteriously with a recorded call from an unknown man asking for help. He tells his assistant that he found bodies lying around in a neighboring house that he checked on after hearing a gunshot. He also mentions a little girl from the scene is with his wife upstairs. Nine years later, the girl grows up to become the beautiful 16-year-old Cyd (Jessie Pinnick). She moves into her aunt Miranda’s (Rebecca Spence) house in Chicago, deciding to take a break from her single father for the summer.
Miranda is a known author and has great appreciation for literature, while Cyd is more interested in mutinous spree. After losing her way while on a run, Cyd meets Katie (Malic White), a barista from a nearby cafe, and they are immediately drawn into a delicate, intimate relationship. Miranda, confessing that she has not had sex in five years, briefly fancies her friend Anthony (James Vincent Meredith), but the feelings do not turn into anything serious. Miranda invites Cyd to a party, where she and her writer friends meet, drink, eat and share their work. While Miranda is reading her prose, Cyd goes upstairs to her room with Ridley (Matthew Quattrocki), smokes, and the two make out. Offended by Cyd’s secrecy, Miranda is cold to Cyd and tells her that she needs to be more respectful. Shortly after, Cyd receives a message from Katie saying that she needs help. Cyd and Miranda immediately go to find Katie, discovering that she has been assaulted by her suitemate. They invite Katie over to comfort her and the three of them enjoy each other’s company as they play along the beach and attend Miranda’s lectures. The film exhibits how the conflicting differences between the two characters evolve into mutual understandings as the story progresses.
While White’s acting is slightly awkward, Pinnick and Spence are perfectly natural as Cyd and Miranda. The camerawork is appropriate, but hard to comprehend. Even more difficult to discern is the editing style, which is very choppy and random. For example, in one scene where Miranda and Cyd are walking back home after eating out, Cyd suddenly vanishes and appears at the street across, supposedly finding Miranda’s book. The film is sometimes confusing because any context it offers is too vague. However, the color and the aesthetics of “Princess Cyd” is mind-blowing and outweighs its shortcomings.
“Princess Cyd” opens in New York theaters on Friday, Nov. 3.