Former Louisvillian and filmmaker John Paul Rice brought his production company's latest film Mother's Red Dress to Louisville in April for multiple showings at Village 8 Theaters. He's since returned to his current home in Los Angeles, but the effect of his film continues to touch new audiences.
I got to view it online and found it to be deeply intriguing. No Restrictions Entertainment's films are all about important social issues and are inspired by interviews with real people. They can be difficult to watch sometimes, and this one is no different. I was first introduced to their work through the efforts of Kristofer Rommel, the man behind Derby City Film Festival. He brought Rice to town to show his film One Hour Fantasy Girl, a film about a girl who performs fantasies for money. The film was full of gritty truths but ended with a message of hope.
Mother's Red Dress was written and directed by Rice's co-producer Edgar Michael Bravo. It also brings about a message of personal healing, although from a different perspective. The story is about a boy named Paul who has been witness to violence in his home. He flees to start a new life and meets a girl whom he becomes instantly attracted to. He has to return home to help his mother only to find that his constant rejection of memories surrounding the events he witnessed have twisted his experience into an unhealthy mental state that affects his budding relationship.
The film brings an important issue to the forefront of viewer's minds, stating that repression of experience will always ask to be dealt with and that the effects of domestic violence extend beyond the initial injuries. The cast was strong and the character development was well done. Each of the characters involved had their own issues. Bravo does not hold back in displaying personality traits and does not try to keep his audience in a comfort zone. I found the editing to be a little confusing when Paul began to remember his experiences. It made the time line a little confusing, but I guess that makes sense when the main character is having mental problems. The music was enchanting and bittersweet, making the film more endearing. It kind of reminded me a little of Donnie Darko.
As with One Hour Fantasy Girl, the ending was not a happy one, but rather one that offered a glimmer of hope that encourages the audience to perhaps see that that their films are realistic and that the characters have more growing to do. It also portrays that these issues are not resolved in our world either. They happen to real people around us every day. You can buy the film or enjoy a special seven day rental at their web site. No Restrictions Entertainment is now raising funds for their next project, Monster Killer.
Photograph from No Restrictions Entertainment: Producer John Paul Rice stands in front of Village 8 Theaters