THE WIND (2018)
Set in a stark backdrop of the remote early 19th century American territories, The Wind offers a slice of history in this western-style horror. A director debut from Emma Tammi and Teresa Sutherland providing the screenplay, they took reference from the diaries of Kansas women documenting their experience of being early settlers. We begin the film nearing the end, and so starts a regression into recent events, that are chopped up and spread across a non-linear timeline.
Seen from the viewpoint of Lizzy (Caitlin Gerrard), we start by picking up the story when she and her husband Gideon (Dylan McTee). welcome a new younger couple Emma (Julia Goldani Telles) and Isacc (Ashley Zukeman), to settle in their barren homestead. The arrival of the spirited Emma with her inquisitiveness of youth first brings Lizzy comfort. But when a newly pregnant Emma starts to become weary of the enduring isolation, her mental health starts to suffer. Here Lizzy’s disdain for Emma emerges, as she battles with Emma’s brashness and reliance on her, all escalated by her grief over the death of her own child and present infertility.
Then there is the wind itself. The wind becomes an elemental force of both women, reflecting their circumstantial and mental imprisonment. The winds' relentlessness against the arid dry planes is torment in itself, but there is also something else lurking outside. A destructive entity that haunts the induces paranoia in Emma, whilst reminding Lizzy of her tragedy and despair.
The film is a haze, as it tries to piece fragments of Lizzie’s memory and distinguish between what is real, or reflections of her imagination. Flashbacks of her son’s stillbirth and her struggles within this turmoiled landscape shifts back and forth, creating an internal whirlwind. Emma’s arrival is the catalyst that forces Lizzie to look back on a life she had tried to bury, whilst Emma ever rebellious tries to prise this out of her. Although the horror story is the backdrop, alongside it stands the underlining tension of this close female relationship - competitive and intense.
The Wind is classically gothic, advocating a doomed landscape, a female protagonist, male aversion, and unrelenting evil. The devilish entity that stalks the women is a constant omen, reminding us that life keeps moving, regardless of the human experience or trauma, from birth to death. It was pleasing to see the haunting having a physical presence, as it gave Emma and Lizzie validation beyond their strained imaginations. Although the haunting can still be considered as a poster board for female agony. These 19th-century wives had one destiny that of a domesticated mother. However Lizzy is unable to have children and Emma is a failed housewife, both are unable to live up to their expected roles. ‘Please don’t be unpleasant in front of the men,’ Lizzy recalls to Emma one afternoon, but this unpleasantness, devoid of the superficial is what makes The Wind heartachingly poignant.
(Photography: Soapbox Films/ Divide Conquer/ Mind Hive Films)
The Wind, 2018 (Film), directed by Emma TAMMI. USA: Soapbox Films