‘Wild Fire’ – Seven acquaintances get radically honest about their lives. - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Friday, April 21, 2023

‘Wild Fire’ – Seven acquaintances get radically honest about their lives.

 ‘Wild Fire’ – Seven acquaintances get radically 

honest about their lives.

Wild Fire is the story of seven acquaintances who get radically honest about their lives one night around a fire after a party. Unknowingly, they all come to the gathering at a crossroads – one they have each been avoiding, perhaps for their entire lives. After an unyielding game of Truth or Dare, the exemplary couple opens up about what they're going through – that they're not as perfect as they seem. This sets the stage for the rest of the group to open up about their lives, unspoken desires, and secrets. The following morning, back in their bedrooms, each couple must choose a path. Will they integrate their newly exposed truths or act as if nothing has changed?

The film is beautifully shot and well edited, but very heavy-handed on the music choices. Sometimes, in crafting a story, the creative team is living inside a proverbial fishbowl, unable to see past its own limited vista. The music choices that open the first act, continuing through the credits, are, I think, meant to inform the audience that our protagonist is "sad" and "pensive" and suffering in silence. But under the score choice is a "soaring" feeling. Here's the issue, in my humble opinion: I don't know her – yet – so I have no emotional connection (yet), and the music is just noise, not attached to any information about the person we are watching.

Is this a music concert or a film? Six minutes in, and we are still watching the woman's action with music. Why? At 7:23 minutes into the film, another character is introduced with headphones on, and there's a switch of music. Finally, at eight minutes in, we get "words" – and then action. But I have no idea who these people are, and at 8:43 seconds, their sexual act is boring.

The tagline in the marketing materials is "The truth will set you free...but can you handle it?" I will toss that question back to the filmmaker.

 Did you forget that all good movies start with an introduction of the main character, asking the central question? "Wild Fire" could have been an enjoyable film (wonderfully shot and nicely edited), but I don't know any of the characters, which means I don't care about any of the characters.

Accolades: Red Dirt FF Official Selection 2023

Jennifer Cooney, writer, director, producer, and editor of "Wild Fire," had this to offer on why she made the film: "Why 'Wild Fire?' I believe that 'we each have a song to sing.' We are all born with a spark, an unadulterated song that is true and unique to each of us – that we are all an individuated facet of All-That-Is. And we came here to burn away all that we are not. To experience it all – light and dark – to gain an experiential understanding of who we truly are. A spark of the Divine. And it drives our every moment. We are taught to be ashamed of our sexual selves, taught that our heart's desires are foolish, driven to live the lives our ancestors lived, burdened with their darkness and fears. And somehow we believe that's going to fulfill us…following in the footsteps of those who came before. To make them proud, or sometimes to not make them ashamed. But this isn't enough, is it?

We can all feel the insufficiency of how we’ve been taught to live, and it’s time to awaken— time to break Free. And a life led by Divine Desire is not for the faint of heart—it is for the most courageous of us all. The characters of Wild Fire explore what it means to be FREE… of lies, of limitations, of our self-imposed prisons… And the courage it takes to step into Truth. I believe that our Divine Desires are little road signs toward the birth of our authentic selves. We’ve all heard, ‘Follow your bliss,’ and things of the like, and to me, that’s what it means… follow your heart’s desire and it will lead you through the fire, and what will emerge is a divine expression of your most authentic self. I believe our sexual self is no exception—rather, I believe it is where our true creative prowess lies dormant until we Awaken. And this desire…this thirst for true expression…this fire…God only knows where it comes from. All I know for sure is that it’s wild.

I wish Cooney would have dug deeper, given the characters their moment of introduction, and lifted the heavy, music away from the film. It’s like a music video for the older crowd!

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