Alchemy | Chicago Reader


Louisa (Rya Kihlstedt) is an artist who fills boxes with found objects. She takes a job in a bookshop around the time she discovers that her boyfriend leads a secret life; curiosity compels her to seek out the other woman. Then her sister becomes ill, and Louisa goes to visit her in the place where they grew up, partly because she thinks it's the right thing to do and partly because she feels detached from her present life. Later she accepts an opportunity to live in an artists' community, where she's obliged to examine a boundary she's drawn between making art and living. Writer-director Suzanne Myers uses atmospheric and tantalizingly unresolved scenes to describe the soul searching of a woman who comes into contact with many extreme types, all of whom are portrayed with an amazing amount of sincerity and conviction. Myers conjures Louisa's moods with expressive landscapes and interiors that forcefully reflect the personalities of characters who have deliberately crafted their own environments. Yet Myers assiduously avoids pretentiousness and quietly revels in emotion, enabling you to know exactly what Louisa, a woman of few words, is feeling (1995).


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