Madeline’s Madeline

2018, 90 Minutes, DCP

Presented by: Josephine Decker

Director: Josephine Decker

Cast: Helena Howard, Molly Parker, Miranda July

Distributor: Oscilloscope Laboratories

Art and artists fascinate Josephine Decker (director of MdFF 2013’s Butter on the Latch and 2014’s Thou Wast Mild and Lovely) because she believes there is something holy in the process of creating and potentially transformative in the result. In Madeline’s Madeline, which premiered at Sundance 2018, she explores the process of creation through the eyes of a fragile young performer, Madeline.

Newcomer, Helena Howard, plays Madeline and it is one of those legendary debut performances that will be noted at every future step of her exciting career. Madeline is part of an improvisational theater group working under the guidance of leader Evangeline, played beautifully by Molly Parker. There is psychic danger in giving yourself over to this process, and Evangeline senses Madeline’s vulnerability but is intrigued by her talent.

The groundbreaking writer, director, musician, and actor Miranda July plays Regina (Madeline’s single mother) who worries about the process, but it is unclear whether that comes from concern for Madeline, or fear of her growing artistic power. Facing both Evangeline and Regina, Madeline gains strength by trusting her ability to take chances, both artistically and in her own life, and that frightens both women.

Decker’s process is itself improvisatory and collaborative and this work with her longtime cinematographer, Ashley Connor, and the rest of her team has served this artistic quest well. It’s high tribute to the power of the creative process and the strength of the artistic spirit. (Jed Dietz)


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