PVT Chat (18)
PVT Chat (18)
Director: Ben Hozie
Runtime: 86 minutes
Cast: Julia Fox, Peter Vack, Buddy Duress, Keith Poulson
Synopsis: Jack is an internet gambler living in NYC who becomes fixated on Scarlet – a cam girl from San Francisco. His obsession reaches a boiling point when fantasy materializes in reality and Jack sees Scarlet on a rainy Chinatown street.
Ben Hozie is an NYC independent filmmaker and leader of the art rock band Bodega. His first film Annunciation (2014) mixed footage of Occupy Wall Street with three short narratives and was shot on 16mm by experimental filmmaker Simon Liu. He also directed The Lion’s Den (2017), a DV comedy of errors, “an attempt at theatre for the camera.”
Pvt Chat is an erotic drama and satirical portrait of the sex cam industry with strong sex references and nudity.
Scarlett [Julia Fox – Uncut Gems (2019), Day by Day (2020)] is a successful dominatrix, putting her clients through painful acts of subjugation, albeit virtually. She has an ardent fan in Jack [Peter Vack – Bully (2006), Assholes (2017), Send (2014)] a professional online gambler. He lives in Manhattan and is surprised to see someone with Scarlett’s likeness in a local store, as she is meant to live in San Francisco. So he proposes a bet – if he can prove she lives in New York, Scarlett has to accompany him on a trip to Paris.
Featuring a score by Austin Brown, of Parquet Courts, the film evinces a low-fi mumblecore* aesthetic with a raw approach to filming sex. Scabrous humour is offset by a romanticism that makes for an entertainingly offbeat comedy drama.
(*Mumblecore is a subgenre of independent film characterized by naturalistic acting and dialogue, low-budget film production, an emphasis on dialogue over plot, and a focus on the personal relationships of people in their 20s and 30s)
Pvt Chat could have portrayed Scarlet as someone to be judged or shamed, but instead of being a victim she displays full agency, enjoyment, and control over her life in a way the film’s other characters are unable to achieve. With occasionally cruel strains of selfishness on display, in the end characters develop new forms of connection, as both glass screens and internal walls are broken down.
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Images courtesy of Vertigo