Written & Directed by Adinah Dancyger / Produced by Emily McEnvoy / Cinematography by Mia Cloffi Henry / Production Design by Katy Hallowell / Sound by Jon Flores / Starring Bobbi Menuez, Keith Poulson, Fred Leeds, Jason Giampietro
New York is a cuddle puddle of sexual transgression, as realised in Amber Noe’s affecting short film Boat. From non-consensual, to consensual, to somewhere in between, Anna (played by Bobbi Menuez) navigates the murky waters of a womanhood amongst the creepers.
The film opens in the only safe space we’ll see Anna inhabit: a contact improvisation class. Only there can Anna really let her guard down--her body down really--releasing all the tension she carries in the outside world. Here, in the trust of a partner, she can let go.
But the outside world is not safe. When Anna falls asleep on the train ride home from class, she wakes up to a sexual assault in progress: a man--who we see only in blurry close-up and hear, just as viscerally, in deep panting breaths--is forcing himself on her. Though Anna fights back, the man overpowers her, grabbing her ever more aggressively, before Noe hard-cut’s to the title card, leaving us to imagine what may have happened next.
In the next scene, Anna simply wakes up. It’s just another day, only, one on which she’ll have to carry the trauma of what happened the night before. The routine of it--the way Anna just accepts that this wretched thing happened and goes on with her life--is what makes this so devastating. Sexual trauma sticks. You can’t sleep it or wash it or dance it away. For Anna, this attack will sit with her always, no matter where goes or what she does.
Review By David Lombroso
You can find more of Adinah Dancyger’s work on Vimeo.
Cheer Up Baby was selected and screened for our VOL. 004 Series, January 27th, 2019