Not sure how often I’ll be able to do this given how many music submissions we get here at TITO, but I’ll try to get some film related stuff on here when I am able to. So I figured that this might be a neat place to start.
White Fox Mask is a full length film by GWYCKY Films. It dips its paw into a few different genres: surreal, romance, fantasy, drama, fairytale… And it does this rather well. We follow the love, confusion and curiosity of Fedorico (or simply, Rico), the lead singer in a local rock band as he follows the trail of his lover, Vivienne. The film takes us for a dreamlike ride of flashbacks, dreams and the confusion that Rico’s reality becomes because of his encounters with Vivienne. The more involved Rico becomes with her, the stranger things get. Nothing’s as it seems. On a mission to find out exactly who she is, he runs into a variety of people under surreal circumstances. All of which are connected to Vivienne somehow and this mystical woman in a white dress who wears a white fox mask. There is no doubt that Rico truly loves Vivienne, despite seemingly running into some of her ex-lovers, being stood up/ditched or even lied to, but his desire to find out the truth and to just love her in general seems to blind him from the real world, which continues to go on without him.
I took nine pages of notes on this film. I very much appreciate the fact that it is making me really sit and think this out. The plot Is not a hard one to follow, don’t get me wrong, but there is a lot going on here that the viewer, through Rico’s experiences and perception, must unravel. To put it simply, Rico is really lovesick for this girl, you see, but something is not quite right. What does that man in the van want with Vivienne? Why does he follow her around and ignore her when she tells him to leave? Why is there a guy in camo warning Rico not to get too close to her? Why are all of these people, men and women, following the white fox, arguing with her and/or professing their love to her? Why won’t the fox respond to them? Why is the fox killing them and burying them under a light layer of fresh picked weeds? Is the fox connected with Vivienne? And why does Rico, upon seeing all of this, still want to be with Vivienne?
One Possible Way to Look at it:
There are quite a few perspectives one can take when figuring out this film, so let me try this approach first. Even though I’ve been assured that this really isn’t a fox oriented fable or folktale like the kitsune stories from Japan, it’s hard to avoid making a few parallels to them. In Japanese folklore, there are good fox spirits and bad ones, and the bad ones are usually out to trick you, run off with your wife/daughter/husband, or kill you in some fashion and getting your life force. When I came upon the scenes in which the White Fox is walking into the fields, river or forest with scorned/enamored lovers in her wake, I couldn’t help but think we were heading in that direction. Not one single person ever seemed to notice they were on the trail of a fox (except for the camo guy), as if they were under a spell that prevented them from seeing her true form. Sure enough, with a powerful kiss, she’d bring the individual to their knees and they’d soon collapse. She would then bury them under grasses and weeds. I assumed Vivienne was in league with the fox, perhaps even a fox herself. Perhaps the two of them plot to make a spiritual meal out of the lovers they ensnare.
Well, that’s one idea, anyway…
Another Way to Look at it:
Perhaps the fox is more of a symbol, meaning, in this case, there are a lot of forces at play that are making it hard for Rico to trust Vivienne. You have several men and one woman who seem madly in love and insane with anger toward the fox and two of these men go to great lengths to follow Vivienne, either to study her or to abduct her (the man with the van accomplishes this on one occasion, and the guy in the camouflage seems obsessed with information and comes armed with warnings for Rico not to get too close or to have sex with her). Rico manages to rescue her from the man with the van and doesn’t seem to pay much heed to any warnings, but is defiantly put off and baffled by Vivienne’s constant coming and going, vanishing on trips to get coffee, standing him up/ditching in the middle of dates, not being truthful about where she lives, etc… Yet, despite this wild mystery, he cannot stop thinking about it her and spends days at a time searching for her. The mystery around Vivienne could be symbolized as the fox, which in its own right is traditionally a mysterious and tricky creature. The more Rico is faced with these strange encounters, let downs and stories, the more ensnared he becomes in the mystery itself until it consumes him completely (when the White Fox takes him) and he loses himself.
Have you ever experienced the pain of losing/parting ways with the supposed love of your life? Do you remember the intense and uncontrollable feelings that accompanied that and how long they lasted, what they did to you and how those feelings affected your life as a whole for that period of time? The world certainly was not the same place, was it? This might be the case for the characters in this film that are following the fox. They are tortured, angry, but still in love, following forever the object of their desire until it leads them to self-destruction. Rico is well on his way to a similar fate. Here is a young man who has lived a comfortable and relatively normal life, jamming with his band and living alone until he meets the beautiful Vivienne and through his deep yearning, his reality changes drastically, becoming this sort of surreal, bizarre, and at times, nightmarish world. He becomes consumed with longing and thus, he loses focus on the real world. Eventually, he is lost within it, becoming a part of the fairytale and dies while trapped inside it.
All That Said, Some Thoughts:
I enjoy movies like this. When reality becomes so intertwined with the surreal that nothing is as it seems and the ‘everyman’ has to figure his/her way through the chaos to make sense of it all or gets completely lost in the process is something I find utterly fascinating. The filmmaker uses flashbacks to their fullest potential, giving the film an almost nonlinear feel but still managing to keep things on track and moving forward. This film has stunning visuals, which is amazing considering how little time the crew had to shoot it. The locations are beautiful, the acting is convincing and the characters, symbolism, storyline and soundtracks are very engaging.
I feel the filmmaker and writer accomplished what they had set out to do and I absolutely enjoyed the experience this film created.
Rating (4.5 out of 5)
While there isn’t a set date for a DVD release yet, they are trying to make that a reality. In the meantime, there is some work being done to get it up on-demand. Until then, scope out the White Fox Mask FB Page.
The soundtrack was created by Dorothea Tachler and all live music was performed by Jump Back Jake.
Want a fox mask for yourself? Check out MeriMask; her work is incredible!