The trailer for writer/director Zach Clark’s White Reindeer doesn’t seem to feature any cocaine use, but it might as well. Depicting the grievous unraveling of formerly sunny Suzanne (Anna Margaret Hollyman), who suffers the death of her husband before finding out he was having an affair with an exotic dancer (Laura Lemar-Goldsborough), this offbeat holiday comedy and SXSW favorite seems primed to throw in the kitchen sink when it comes to Suzanne’s self-medication. If the clip shows us Suzanne dancing, drinking, and buddying up with the other woman, then the poster reveals what else the widow is imbibing, forming the silhouette of a Christmas tree from lines of cocaine. It may well be that the titular term is a euphemism for blow that I’m not aware of, and it may well be that that white powder isn’t cocaine at all. (Who’s to say Suzanne isn’t breaking bad with a little meth?) Either way, this notably naughty poster serves to place White Reindeer among the ranks of other transgressive yuletide flicks. Almost immediately, it calls to mind the Criterion cover art for Arnaud Desplechin’s A Christmas Tale, which is also given the Tannenbaum-by-substance treatment, shaping a tree from the dark dramedy’s ever-present cigarette smoke.
Anna Margaret Hollyman (#1–10 of 2)
This year’s SXSW slate benefited from a surge of films helmed by a wide variety of women, from Oscar-winner Jodie Foster’s The Beaver to 18-year-old Austin darling Emily Hagins’s third feature, My Sucky Teen Romance. It’s a welcome trend, one that, along with the evolution of returning filmmakers and the emergence of new visionaries, helps to continue developing SXSW into a rounded, varied, and increasingly more difficult to label film festival. Below are some of my thoughts on just a few of this year’s female-directed movies.