NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS
2020, Focus Features, 95 min, UK/USA, Dir: Eliza Hittman

When 17-year-old Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) looks at herself in the mirror, she can see the signs of pregnancy beginning to manifest in her body. As a minor in rural Pennsylvania, she cannot obtain an abortion without parental consent. That leaves her to consider the age-old methods women have turned to when confronting unintended pregnancies. Though Autumn keeps mum about her dilemma, her distress is clear to her cousin and best friend Skylar (Talia Ryder), who sees her every day at school and at their part-time jobs as cashiers. With the address of a Brooklyn clinic in hand, the cousins board an early morning bus bound for New York City. But their trip takes an unexpected turn when Autumn learns that a one-visit procedure isn’t possible. As the cousins navigate two fraught days and nights in an unfamiliar and overwhelming city, their journey becomes one of profound solidarity, compassion and friendship. Winner of the Silver Bear Jury Grand Prix at the Berlin International Film Festival.“At once dreamlike and ruthlessly naturalistic, steadily composed yet shot through with roiling currents of anxiety, NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS is a quietly devastating gem.” - Andrew Barker, Variety.


It Felt Like Love
2013, 82 min, U.S.A., Dir: Eliza Hittman

In this 2013 Sundance Film Festival premiere, fourteen-year-old Lila is experiencing an ennui-filled Brooklyn summer. She awkwardly wears a Kabuki-esque mask of sunscreen at the beach and plays third wheel to Chiara, her more experienced friend, and Chiara’s boyfriend, Patrick. Determined to have a love interest of her own, a bravado-filled Lila pursues Sammy, a tough but handsome older boy. Though Sammy doesn’t respond to her overtures, he doesn’t reject her either, and Lila—unable to resist spinning delusional fables of a relationship with him—manipulates herself deeper into his world. When her desperation and posturing carry her too far into unfamiliar territory, her inexperience is exposed, and she is forced to confront reality.

In this film shot from Lila’s point of view and constructed with precise—sometimes startling—imagery and intimate moments, first-time feature writer/director Eliza Hittman confidently constructs a viewing experience that is completely subjective. Bolstered by a perfectly modulated lead performance from Gina Piersanti, It Felt Like Love unflinchingly reveals some of the rawest moments of girlhood in an authentic story of burgeoning identity and sexual awakening. - K.Y.


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