TEST PATTERN 82 MIN. Rated R Directed by: Shatara Michelle Ford
Part psychological horror, part realist drama, this exhilarating debut feature from Shatara Michelle Ford is set against the backdrop of national discussions around inequitable health care and policing, the #metoo movement, and race in America. Test Pattern follows an interracial couple whose relationship is put to the test after a Black woman is sexually assaulted and her white boyfriend drives her from hospital to hospital in search of a rape kit. Their story reveals the systemic injustices and social conditioning women face when navigating sex and consent within the American patriarchy. Winner of top prizes at the BlackStar and New Orleans Film Festivals, this gripping social thriller offers a unique exploration of institutional racism and sexism from a Black woman's point of view.
Content warning: This film includes a depiction of sexual assault.
"This is talent. Pure, plain and simple. Test Pattern is Ford’s feature debut, though it’s not her first stab at trying to get a movie made. (She had a script, Queen Elizabeth, that got as far as being included on the industry-esteemed Black List but remains unproduced.) The story of how Test Pattern was made is a painfully familiar one, particularly for non-white (and/or) women directors — most especially in an era which, thanks in part to the lo-fi successes of microbudget filmmaking movements such as mumblecore, has glorified low-budget independents to the point of rendering debt a badge of honor, as if making art with little-to-no resources were really a desirable outcome rather than a consequence of astonishing inequity. This, too, is part of what Test Pattern is about. You can feel it as you watch it. Here is a born filmmaker, fighting to get her vision in front of an audience — and what a vision this is. We owe it to that effort to watch this movie. More than that, we owe it to ourselves." partial review -K, Austin Collins --Rolling Stone mag.
Full Article ****1/2 4 and a half STARS out of 5.