Taylor Brianna, Maya Holliday, Torri Grice, Azende Kendale Johnson
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
"Fingers in the Wind" a Unique, Intelligent Film
Within moments, Chad Murdock's Fingers in the Wind reveals itself as something different. You're not quite sure what, at least not initially, but it's in these opening moments that this is going to be a unique cinematic experience.
It begins when we meet Naya (Maya Holliday) as she is breaking the news to her longtime best friend Faye (Taylor Brianna) that she is ending what she perceives to have been an emotionally exploitative relationship for both of them. The news is, as one might expect, quietly shocking for Faye. She departs and soon enters a park where she will encounter a young man (Azendé Kendale Johnson) whom she will mistake for someone from her past. The two will connect, casual conversation soon becoming more than casual conversation. The two will spend their day together, Faye revealing more of herself and her relationship with Naya and this man from her past with whom she now believes she shares her present.
There is an undeniable romanticism present, though it is not romanticism in the way Hollywood would usually portray it. It feels more thoughtful, more meditative, and possesses an almost dreamlike quality to it. The word surreal comes to mind, though surreal is not quite right. All of this will unfold uniquely, Brad Nelson's lensing for the film feeling both authentic and immersive. Sydney Elexis Vernon's production design complements the lensing with a naturalism that washes over us as we begin to realize that this story is grounded deep within memory, self-identity, and reality even as it feels at times like a fantasy. In essence, this "tone" is real or at least perceived as real.
To describe the story much further would be unjust, though you would be gravely mistaken to relate it anywhere to, say, the Julie Delpy/Ethan Hawke "Before" films. It's an easy association if only circumstantially, though this film is more about the interior and coming-of-age. Fingers in the Wind is a unique film, though perhaps that is my own perception that Hollywood is so often busy selling caricatures of the African-American experience that it seldom delves deeper into the interior lives of Blackness and queerness. Fingers in the Wind goes there and it is at times jarring yet even more often quite beautiful to watch unfold.
Fingers in the Wind also works because of the quality of this small indie ensemble. Taylor Brianna is quite the discovery to behold, a mesmerizing talent who seemingly understands every nuance of Murdock's vision. Johnson seems to innately understand his function here and quietly but magnificently brings it to life. Holliday, apparently a veteran of Murdock's short films, is truly impressive as well.
Fingers in the Wind isn't the kind of film you'll ever likely see at the multiplex. It's a unique, intelligent film that tells a story that should be told yet also tells the story the way it should be told. Murdock's vision here is uncompromising in all the right ways, and I find myself reflecting upon the film and its meaning often long after the closing credits rolled. For those willing to surrender themselves to Murdock's storytelling, Fingers in the Wind will prove to be a unique and rewarding experience.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic