Director: Karl Jacob
Stars: Bijou Abas, Karl Jacob, Anna Klemp, and Hedi Fellner
The transition from adolescence to adulthood is marked by several physical and emotional shifts that are both subtle and overt. How individual cultures recognize that metamorphosis is as varied as people themselves. While most of us do something to mark the occasion, very few of us do exactly the same things. Be it a Bar Mitzvah, Quinceaneras, or an Inuit Hunting ritual most of us chose to recognize this incredibly awkward time with a rite of passage that underscores our youth while inching us closer to masculinity or femininity.
In COLD NOVEMBER, 12-year-old Florence (Bijou Abas) is eager to undergo the traditionally male rite-of-passage in killing her first deer. Passed down through many generations of women in her family, the act of hunting symbolizes her transition into adulthood. Moments before her first period Florence is seen playing with a Matchbox car. A powerful (albeit not too understated) juxtaposition that goes a long way in defining her unbalanced state.
Great care is given to Florence while she is taught how to shoot a gun and skin a deer. Just as her youth is slipping away this process is designed to give her a deeper understanding of life and death. The slow death or her childhood will eventually give way to the life of her adulthood. In the same way, the death of the deer will give life to the hunter.
When Florence finds herself alone during a hunt, however, expectations dissolve into chaos as she must rely on her instinct and training to follow through with her decisions, pull herself together, and face becoming an adult.
Bijou Abas performance as Florence is both compelling and impressive. For her 12th birthday, she is given a rifle that has been in the family for generations. In this moment she holds the gun, pretends to shoot it, and mimes surprise at the riffles kick. It’s a quiet moment that speaks volumes about the character. She is just a goofy kid, a little bit nervous about the journey that awaits her. The moment only lasts a few beats and would be easy to miss, but Karl Jacob has faith in the audience, he knows that we are paying attention and in turn creates one of the most engaging films I’ve seen in ages.
COLD NOVEMBER will be available on iTunes 5/22/18