Forever’s gonna start tonight

Forever’s gonna start tonight is a short film by Eliza Hittman in which Sonya, a 17-year-old Russian immigrant, lives in a claustrophobic Brooklyn apartment with her dad and his ever-growing menagerie of cats. When the Landlady threatens to kick them out, Sonya is forced to make an unimaginable decision to protect her aging father and herself. Set in the Russian beach communities of South Brooklyn and shot on 16mm, Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight is immediately engaging via the performance of Sonya (Viktoria Vinyarska). She plays her teenage character as a somewhat flat picture of ennui, yet possesses a degree of magnetism necessary to turn a character that could easily be a cipher into a protagonist we care for. Hittman of course helps, an early scene with Sonya’s landlord in the stairwell of her building would usually be a routine expository dump, setting up a key plot point for later in the film, but Hittman adds a funny little moment where, after the confrontation, Sonya stops and peers back at her landlord, making surprise eye contact. It’s a glare that establishes Sonya as strong-willed and a bit petulant. Hittman’s filmmaking displays thoughtful specificity in both its character and world-building which lends a deep authenticity to her stories. Combined with a rich and hypnotic visual style, she is able to create naturalistic stories that feel light in plot, yet probe deep into their character’s rich internal lives.

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