Thursday, September 12, 2013

Review: The Caterpillar's Kimono - The Past Revisited

The Caterpillar's Kimono draws inspiration from  F. Scott Fitzgerald's Babylon Revisited, modernizing the tale of main character Charlie who seeks to be reunited with his young daughter, after a stint in rehab and his wife's passing gave guardianship to his sister-in-law and brother-in-law.  Both this film, written and directed by Bailey Kobe, and the original short story by Fitzgerald illuminate the struggle to truly change, to become the person you want to be.

Kobe deftly pays homage to Fitzgerald's original work while drawing focus to the timeless nature of a story seated in change and redemption.  Fans of Babylon Revisited will likely enjoy the resonance of key, familiar lines echoing and alive still across time.  There are also subtle echoes of Fitzgerald's visualized and imagined Paris in the film's modern-day Las Vegas setting, especially as Charlie moves across the lights and emptiness of the Las Vegas landscape in reflections and flashbacks.

Q/A Session for USC SCA Alumni Screening
of The Caterpillar's Kimono:
(Left to Right) Moderator, Joey Kern,
Ben Savage, Aja Evans, Hailey Sole,
Julie McNiven, and Bailey Kobe.
The character Charlie, portrayed by Joey Kern, is the perfect embodiment of tension and struggle between past and present, of who he was, is, and wants to be.  And while we cannot help but root for Charlie to overcome, Kobe ensures that we do not experience the story from just Charlie's perspective, that we must understand the others in the tale.  By doing so in this modernization, we understand the struggles, hopes, and fears of the characters affected by Charlie's journey to be someone better.  Daughter Norah (Hailey Sole) is innocent, hope, and inspiration.  Sister-in-law Marion (Mary Catherine Garrison) and her husband Lincoln (Ben Savage) offer the tension that mediates trust and distrust.  Old friends Duncan (Brian Gallivan) and Lorraine (Aja Evans) are the source of much of the film's comic relief, but also reflect the past's frivolity and dangers that cannot so easily be removed.  And through it all, Charlie's late wife Helen (Julie McNiven) exists as a haunting figure whose voice, story, and presence are twisted by the different and living memories of those she left behind.   

The Caterpillar's Kimono firmly roots us in the immediate moment, infusing us with hope, but forces us to acknowledge that the past will always be there somewhere.
The Caterpillar's Kimono was a part of USC's School of Cinematic Arts' Alumni Screening Series, featuring new films by SCA alumni and faculty.  Learn more about upcoming SCA events on their event calendar.

Learn more about The Caterpillar's Kimono and opportunities to experience the film on the film's Facebook and Website.

-Charity Tran, Editor 

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