Tracker Pixel for Entry

She Dies Tomorrow: Amy Seimetz Contemplates the End

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | September 15th, 2020

Well-deserved praise for writer-director Amy Seimetz’s efficient and provocative “She Dies Tomorrow” almost inevitably points to the film’s eerie timeliness as a metaphor for pandemic-inspired malaise and disequilibrium. More interesting, however, is the split among observers who interpret Seimetz’s intended tone in different ways. Some claim the movie is hilarious, others see it as terrifying, and another faction argues that it is tragic. Of course, it’s entirely possible for the story to encompass all those descriptions and then some, but individual reactions to the filmmaker’s carefully calibrated vision will vary. For my money, that’s a positive thing.

The movie’s central rhetorical device manifests as a kind of highly contagious, virally-spread sense or premonition of impending death. Passed from one hapless victim to the next in a manner reminiscent of the linked-chain transmission in David Robert Mitchell’s “It Follows,” “She Dies Tomorrow” trades Mitchell’s sexual panic for a more disquieting and interpersonal apocalypse. We come to understand the nature of the “disease” through Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil), an alcoholic who, certain her life is going to end the following day, calls her friend Jane (Jane Adams) to share the bad news.

Confused, concerned, and more than a bit annoyed at what she perceives is Amy experiencing a relapse, Jane does her best to offer some comfort. But Jane soon falls prey to the same strobing colored lights and pulsating sounds that signal the advent of next-day mortality. Jane attends her sister-in-law’s birthday party and infects the guests. And so on. In the film’s press notes, Seimetz writes about the film’s origin: “I was dealing with my own personal anxiety and found I was spreading my panic to other people by talking about it perhaps too excessively – while simultaneously watching a ton of news and watching mass anxiety spreading on the right and left politically.” It’s a grim coincidence that the movie’s eventual release lined up with COVID-19.

Even though Seimetz’s “ideological contagion” might have its roots in coping strategies for depression and a range of mental health issues, the director works wonders imagining how we might react if we knew we only had a few hours to live. The vignettes, which swing from poignant to bleakly comic, are among the movie’s highlights. Especially noteworthy is the droll, deadpan, and beautifully underplayed relationship between Brian (Tunde Adebimpe) and Tilly (Jennifer Kim). Their hard truths surrounding a striking, even shocking, hospital scene exemplify the gallows humor to such an extent we wish we could spend more time with the doomed duo.

The movie’s modest budget -- reportedly covered by Seimetz’s “Pet Sematary” earnings -- is an asset; domestic spaces are vividly photographed (Seimetz used her own home and yard as a key location) and situated for maximum impact. “She Dies Tomorrow” lacks the impact of “Melancholia,” but even though Seimetz’s film has been frequently compared to von Trier’s, there is a crucial distinction to be made: “She Dies Tomorrow” elects not to confirm whether the characters will, in fact, meet untimely ends. Instead, Seimetz ponders whether predictability or unpredictability would govern our choices and actions when the clock is running. Her answer? It’s personal.

Recently in:

By the time this article is published, all the major new outlets in the area will have reported on the May 30th protest in Fargo demanding change and justice after the needless killing of George Floyd, as well as its aftermath. …

by Sonja ThompsonDebra Ruh is the CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT, a consulting firm that strives to help clients amplify their impact and become disability inclusion leaders. She also serves as the Chair of the United…

Best Bets

Ladies Ag Night

by HPR Staff

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

by Sofia Makarova and Massimo Sassi The global pandemic is an incredibly challenging time for many. Nearlyone in every three Americans’ jobs have been affected, whether a temporary layoff, a permanent job loss, or a reduction in…

The Death of Empire by A Thousand CutsSome empires last longer than others. Rome was one. The Chinese empire died the death of a thousand cuts they made famous a thousand years ago. But the Chinese heart that was sliced centuries…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

It goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is the most profitable of all the holidays and the one with the most tortured history, literally. It is confusing how an ancient Roman festival that involved sacrificing animals and…

Fargo obviously loves their classical music. Audiences have still turned out during the 2019-2020 season of the Sanford Masterworks Series performed by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra despite an unrelenting winter. That…

Well-deserved praise for writer-director Amy Seimetz’s efficient and provocative “She Dies Tomorrow” almost inevitably points to the film’s eerie timeliness as a metaphor for pandemic-inspired malaise and disequilibrium.…

This weekend, the 10th Annual Unglued Craft Fest will be held at the Plains Art Museum, featuring over 70 local and regional artists selling handmade items. Though most are Fargo-Moorhead residents, artists from Minneapolis, Sioux…

Theatre

Fargo Film Festival 2020

by HPR Contributor

by Dominic EricksonThis March, the Fargo Film Festival will celebrate its 20th year of entertaining die-hard cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike. The festival begins on March 17 and concludes March 21. The event is once again…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comFar North Spirits, located up in Hallock, MN, is the northernmost distillery in the lower 48. They may be young in the distillery world but the farm and the spirit reach far into the past.…

Wellness

Discover Yoga Differently

by HPR Contributor

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

“(Kafka’s) world knows no physical or moral order…We, the readers, are reliving our bad dreams…punishment is over all the characters, but the crime remains mysteriously hidden…” - William Hubben“The specter of color is…