Candace Fields

The second narrative feature from Shaun Scott, a 2012 Stranger Genius Award nominee in film, is an odd affair—awkward at times, but utterly original. The dual narrative revolves around Meryl (Libby Matthews), a college student, and her pen pal, Frank (Trevor Marston), a travel writer (Meryl, who is part-white, grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation). Scott, who has cited Chris Marker as an influence, punctuates the action with newsreel footage, smartphone graphics, and a jazz score. While Meryl struggles to finish her final semester, Frank struggles to start his second book. Meryl's therapist (Marya Sea Kaminski from Intiman's Angels in America) recommends she limit her time online, since it's only exacerbating her obsessive tendencies, but Frank's publisher encourages the opposite tack: He wants him to write Pacific Aggression as a blog, so Frank returns to the Northwest from New York. In his narration, he reads from posts about wineries and marijuana dispensaries, revealing as much about the filmmaker, a UW history grad, as the character. Toward the end, the two protagonists reconnect, but his smugness and her sarcasm present even bigger problems in person. Scott has described the film as a social satire, but it works even better as an acerbic romantic comedy. recommended

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