QUICK SNAP: LIVE FROM CANNES
Mandy wakes up on her front lawn. She doesn’t remember what happened. The next day, her friends send her a video of her unconscious body on the floor surrounded by a group of males teens in a party. They joke about her being dead, challenge each other to have coitus, and even question whether “sex with a dead person” indeed counts as sex. Then the video ends, leaving Mandy to put the puzzle pieces together and work out what happened to her. She has a large bruise of her back. She fears the worse: that she has been violated.
At first, her schoolmates ask her not to take it serious. It was just a prank, and she should just forget the whole thing. A friend reminds her “you found it funny when duct taped Craig naked”. Her parents eventually find out and persuade Mandy to report the incident to the police. She hesitates at first, but finally agrees to open up. The problem is that she can’t remember anything. The police investigates and charges one of the teens, a male called AJ (Nicolas Galitzine). But they don’t have enough evidence to prosecute him. Mandy and her parents are told that a criminal prosecution is very onerous, and that a civil case could take years.
It’s often suggested – if in subtle ways – that Mandy is responsible for being abused. After all, she wilfully intoxicated herself with alcohol. At times, she feels guilty and just wishes to forget everything. At other times, she wants to find out more, despite fearing the worse. Although the word “rape” is never used in the film (the likely violation is instead described euphemistically), there is little doubt that Mandy may have been molested. The male teens involved hesitate to discuss the evening in detail, suggesting that they are indeed hiding something.
Pippa Bianco’s first feature film raises a lot of ethical, moral and even legal questions. Are you responsible for your actions when you are drunk? When is drunk consent acceptable? Is it ok to forgive and forget, dismissing teenage misconduct as a mere “silly mistake”, or does that equate to complacence? I think we all know the answers. However, the fact that Mandy herself feels ashamed is a testament that our society isn’t entirely ready to hear the voice of oppressed females.
While its premise is interesting and thought-provoking (and guaranteed to please the #MeToo movement), Share isn’t entirely accomplished from a cinematographic perspective. The camerawork is rather uninspired and the performances lack vigour. And the music score is a little irritating, with the same suspenseful chord repeated ad infinitum. Bianco made an interesting topic choice for her debut feature, but she still needs to overcome some teething problems.
Share is showing the the 72nd Cannes International Film Festival, which is taking place right now. It premiered in Sundance earlier this year.