Piper De Palma, daughter of famed director Brian De Palma, makes her feature film debut in Spiral Farm, a drama about a girl hoping to gain her independence . . . if she can actually leave her old life behind.
Seventeen-year-old Anahita (De Palma) lives in a commune in the hills of Southern California (inspired by those you remember from your ganja-filled days the late ‘60s), where she works on a farm and participates in ceremonies to bring forth tranquility (and stuff like that). But Anahita’s life isn’t as peaceful as you’d think; she takes on most of her family’s farm chores, including her lazy mother’s, and cares for her 8-year-old nephew, Ocean, while her sister regularly escapes the latter-day hippie refuge for civilization. Luckily, Anahita finds solace in sneaking off to practice her hip hop dance moves in the woods (yes, really). When her mother reunites with an old lover, the man’s attractive son encourages Anahita to attend a dance audition in the city. After busting some moves and experiencing city life, she sees her ticket out of the commune. She’ll just have to leave her mother and Ocean behind, and ask herself if she’s even capable of living off of the farm.
Spiral Farm touches on sex, duty and personal fulfillment through a coming-of-age tale, while spiraling through a range of emotions like an emo, death metal and gospel playlist set on shuffle (though you’ll leave with Donna Lewis’s “I Love You Always Forever” playing in your head). Though the story may feel somewhat stagnant at times, the film offers both dialogue and an ending that feel refreshingly realistic.
Written and directed by Alec Tibaldi, Spiral Farm is in the Narrative Competition at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival.
Upcoming screening: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 7:45 p.m., Gallery Screening Room, Treasure Mountain Inn, Park City