Josephine Decker‘s work carries with it a high-wire sense of danger, an aesthetic of possibility and collapse. Whether in the costumed genre trappings of Thou Wast Mild and Lovely, the shifting and uneasy ambivalence of Butter on the Latch‘s just-this-side-of-horror stay at a Balkan folk gathering, or (especially) the self-immolation of Flames, in which Decker’s camera focused with supreme discomfort on her own relationship, the viewer is simultaneously at a remove and much, much too close, piecing together fragments with a mounting sense that the whole edifice could topple.
The Wild Boys, Bertrand Mandico’s feverish and gleefully overstuffed debut feature, is many things at once, and not all of those things make immediate sense together. It’s a highly theatrical coming-of-age story set on the high seas, featuring boys played by women becoming men who become women.
What is Suspiria about? It’s about an American woman who goes to an extremely Italian Germany to attend a prestigious dance academy, and who slowly discovers that it is actually being run by a coven of demonic witches. (She would have figured it out a lot earlier if she could have listened to the soundtrack, in which a semi-diagetic voice occasionally whispers “witch!”)