Original title:Scrap
Director:Vivian Kerr
Running time:105 minutes
Release date:Not communicated
Beth has just been laid off from her job and is struggling to keep up appearances as a middle-class woman in Los Angeles. Hoping to find a new job and change her situation before her older brother Ben finds out, Beth must swallow her pride and reconnect with him in order to support her daughter Birdy. Ben, meanwhile, can't have children with his wife Stacy, a sought-after lawyer, and the couple is about to embark on a third in vitro fertilization. But Stacy isn't sure she wants to continue being a mother.

Mulder's Review

Scrap was certainly one of our favorites of this 48th edition of the American film festival and would have amply deserved to leave with an award as this dramatic comedy benefits from a perfectly mastered script and direction but also from a cast of excellent actors with Anthony Rapp (The X-Files, Psych, Star Trek: Discovery) and Lana Parrilla (24, Once Upon a Time, Why Women Kill) in supporting roles.

With the beautiful city of Los Angeles at the center of the story, director Vivian Kerr (who also plays the female lead) portrays a young divorced mother, Beth, who has not only lost her job but also her home, and is forced not only to leave her daughter Birdy with her older brother, Ben (Anthony Rapp), but also to sleep in her car until she finds a job and a place to live. Beth's brother is the epitome of the American dream. Married to Stacy (Lana Parrilla), a beautiful female lawyer by trade, Ben is a famous writer of heroic fantasy books who dreams of having a child. After the death of their parents, Ben has practically raised his younger sister Beth and has always looked after her financially and personally. Yet Beth hides the fact that she is homeless from her brother and asks him to take her and her young daughter into his home for a few days while she finds a job and is able to rebound. The relationship between Ben's wife and Beth is going to be difficult and will bring a lot of worries for Ben.

At the origin of this film there is a short film directed by Leena Pendharkar on a script by Vivian Kerr and already interpreted by her and the actor Anthony Rapp who thus take back their role with a visible pleasure on the screen. The connivance between this brother and sister who seem unable to manage their affairs, pay for their daughter's school and stop shopping frantically on Amazon is at the very center of the story. While many films have already tackled sibling relationships with some success, the portraits painted here are full of sensitivity without ever becoming maudlin. 

Scrap is a film that perfectly succeeds in defining the zeitgeist in Los Angeles. After an initial scene highlighting the many tourist spots in our favorite city, the film avoids focusing on places that are too well known to give life to a realistic story that is full of life. Los Angeles is thus an important element of this film in a city in which homelessness has drastically increased and in which many people are forced by the Covid 19 pandemic to live like Beth in their car or in a tent on a sidewalk. You only have to walk around Hollywood to see the other side of the American dream that we all hope to experience one day. The director seems to know perfectly all the places of Los Angeles and gratifies us with a superb scene the Griffith observatory. The great strength of the actress, writer and director Vivian Kerr is to have succeeded in giving life to an endearing film and we feel perfectly the chemistry between her and her actors. She also puts at the center of this film themes that are dear to her heart such as family, the bonds between a mother and her daughter and a brother and his sister, but also draws a true portrait of current American society.

The great care taken in the elaboration of this film can be felt not only in its editing with no scene unnecessarily drawn out but especially the careful photography of Markus Mentzer. Certainly Scrap marks the very promising debut of Vivian Kerr as a director and we hope to discover her next film soon. This film is a perfect example of what American independent Hollywood cinema should be, in the vein of Woody Allen's first films, with carefully crafted dialogue, committed actors and above all the superb city of Los Angeles at the center of the story, for which I have a true love.

Written and directed by Vivian Kerr
Produced by Vivian Kerr, Rachel Stander
Starring Vivian Kerr, Anthony Rapp, Lana Parrilla, Beth Dover, Khleo Thomas
Music by Holly Tatnall
Cinematography: Markus Mentzer
Edited by Toby Yates 
Production companies :  A Season of Rain
Running time : 105 minutes

Seen on September 5, 2022 at the Deauville international center

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