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Raspberry & Cola

by Everything Sticks

Relationships can be a a difficult mix even when they seemingly are a perfect fit.

Reviews

"Raspberry and Cola" is another simple, self-contained film from 48 veterans Everything Sticks, and it's one of their better ones, with strong performances and pretty solid execution all around. A relationship between two women comes to a head over something as insignificant as soda flavours - as often happens in relationships - and deeper issues simmer under the surface as that minor drama plays out.

The issue is that not much actually *happens*. It's got the same issue as a couple of prior Everything Sticks films, in that a lot of the story takes place internally for the characters, but isn't communicated to the audience, resulting in a lot of awkward silences where we're trying to infer meaning. Ironically, this is the opposite note I gave to TBALC: they overexplained when the performance could sell the situation, whereas this film relies on the subtleties of performance so exclusively that it'd hard to derive anything but the vaguest of meanings from it. It's the old "write what the audience sees and hears" maxim - I don't think that should be a fixed rule, but it definitely applies here.

As a result, the story comes off a little on the light side. Though there's clearly a character change in there somewhere, it's not particularly clear to the audience what it is, or why it's happened. I'm sure there's subtext to the soda-pouring puzzle, but it's lost on the audience, while being imbued with such solemn importance that it almost becomes unintentionally funny. Just needs a bit more context, a bit more information about the characters, and it'd gain the sense and meaning it needs. The idea is strong, but it's obscured by its execution.

Friends butt heads after the wrong flavoured drinks to enjoy on a beautiful warm day get ordered, with Everything Sticks attempting to show how the balancing act of intense friendship can be a struggle.

I think the performances here were strong, with the grump particularly effective at representing stubborness and the stressed peacemaker friend toeing a fine line of emotions as she internally battled towards compromise. A classic give and take situation, if you will.

Colour play was strong with well-defined characters, and the framing of the film at all times conveyed what an intense personal and private conflict this was despite being in an open public park.

However the subject matter was personally not the most engaging in my book. It felt like the issues of the drink flavour were repeated ad nauseum when points made were fairly clear and obvious from the outset. The other big issue for me is that when we received an answer to our dramatic question of how the wrong drink being ordered was going to be resolved, there was little emotional change in either woman and hence a lack of satisfaction for the ending.

On reflection, I get the feeling that a lot of the emotional turmoil was supposed to meet the invisibile element asked of the team. I worried when I saw the elements that this may come to light and unfortunately for me whilst arguably subversive, it just backfired a bit if that was the intepretation.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Existing reviews for this film seem to focus on things that I personally got absolutely no impression of. What is striking: obscenely precise cinematography; a production polish; the absolute surrealism of the characters, the dialogue, and basically every shot.

I don't know if you guys have set out to make some kind of brilliant avant-garde comedy but you've done it. I thought it was absolutely hilarious. The way that one character dramatically gets up and then pauses - so unexpectedly tenderly - so as to invoke some vietnam flashback of being left behind, is incredible. The dialogue seems to be perfectly self-aware: "Don't try... try and be funny!" Every time, I expected a Style-esque angsty line and every time I was surprised.

Look at the way that one character sits down on the bench slowly and slides to the side - simply saying "We can fix this." after a pregnant moment of silence. It's like something straight out of Spongebob. I'm not sure I'm conveying my feelings on this movie right. Other reviews have commented on the strength of the characters but I completely disagree - this is not how humans act, much less is it how characters act on screen - but it is a brilliant dissection that stretches every moment across a thousand frames until you can't help but be blown away.

It is totally surreal, the way you've managed to create a friendship that exists in a completely liminal and abstract emotional space. It is torturous. I have massive respect for the other reviewers here and they are much better at judging films than I am - but for me this film has basically nothing to do with soda. It is entirely about your narrative treatment. The weakest point is probably the heartbeat sequence. I think if you were able to add in music and more sound design to empower the emotional arc, this film would have landed a bit better. But I fear it has been completely misunderstood, whether by myself or others.

This was an incredible film. Maybe your best. I'm serious. I have never seen anyone set out to make anything quite like it.

Haha love how we make the films we want to make! Not sure how this one was a 'race' against time, as the characters definitely paced themselves while they collected their thoughts. Nevertheless, I ​love how serious and dedicated your acting talent is. Keep doing what you love!
Love love love the True-Detective Style team intro too! Tried to do that myself with a school team a few years ago. Definitely like yours better.

JJ

Cool film team!

Firstly - awesome intro, there were some great shots in this film, the spin on the genre was well done.

The story itself I feel was a bit flat, even though it was executed well it was boring for my taste - but meh.

Regardless - good work team! And good effort to the young girl actresses on their performances!

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