Director Celia Rowlson–Hall uses her background as a choreographer to create MA, a modern–day retelling of Mother Mary's pilgrimage. Here the Virgin figure is Ma (RowlsonHall), a lanky woman who emerges from the desert wearing only a T–shirt, cowboy boots and head towel. She falls in with a similarly lonesome man, and they spend the next few days acting out hyperbolic representations of masculinity, femininity, aggression and submission within a roadside motel room. In an admirably gutsy move, Rowlson–Hall has made the film dialogue–free, a decision that proves brilliant as the meticulously composed cinematography and wild, seething, push–and–pull choreography of the characters speak volumes. Rowlson–Hall peppers the film with recognizable indie faces and the lithe, graceful bodies of dancers to tell a story about gender, power and the bleak spaces of Americana. When Ma reaches her destination, it is nothing short of stunning. — Beth Hanna
Preceding short: I REMEMBER NOTHING.
Celia Rowlson-Hall has worked as a choreographer for film and television, working with directors such as Gaspar Noé and Lena Dunham. She has written and directed more than 50 short films and videos. Her debut feature, MA, had its world premiere at the 2015 Venice International Film Festival.