Mirrah Foulkes's astonishing, indefinable feature debut reimagines the Judy & Punch puppet show as a blackly comic feminist revenge tale starring Mia Wasikowska and Damon Herriman.
It's the mid-17th century in the anarchic town Seaside (which is nowhere near the sea), and The Enlightenment feels very far away indeed. Seaside has spiralled into violence, mob rule and God-fearing hysteria. Amongst the chaos, one glimmer of artistry remains: Punch and Judy's puppet theatre.
Once a master puppeteer, the charismatic Punch (Herriman) has fallen too much under the sway of whiskey, but his wife Judy (Wasikowska) is a puppeteering genius and ensures that their shows are a hit with the baying crowds. When a Punch bender goes disastrously and violently wrong, Judy decides to wreak vengeance on those who have wronged her and, as she discovers, many others.
Mirrah Foulkes said: "My hope is that this epic female driven vengeance story incubates a wholly original and unique world, speaking volumes through its feminine inversion of the traditional hero's journey. Judy & Punch is bat-shit-crazy and fun!". Taking cues from everything from Monty Python to The Crucible to Kill Bill, Judy & Punch is an ambitious film that finds its own singular path.
Starts Thu 7 Nov at:
Luna On SX
Utterly bonkers but also sort of brilliant … a tonally complex comedy-drama about spousal abuse, infant mortality and misogyny told with magic tricks, puppets and slapstick
The overall concept, from Foulkes and her trio of story collaborators, has a bracingly original air, from the film's period anachronisms to its impressive design elements.