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Petrol (Alena Lodkina, 2022) wr. Alena Lodkina, prod. Kate Laurie, dp Michael Latham, ed. Luca Cappelli; Emmett Aldred, Daniel Aloisio, Mezi Atwood, Nathalie Morris, Hannah Lynch

The second feature film from writer/director Alena Lodkina whose debut film Strange Colours premiered at the 2017 Venice International Film Festival. Petrol follows Aurora, a naïve and idealistic film student who befriends a charismatic performance artist named Mia. As the two women move in together and their lives become more entwined, Aurora begins to feel haunted by an otherworldly presence. In her quest to understand her new friend, Aurora sets off on a surreal journey of awakening, haunted by dreams, fantasies and ghosts. Lodkina teams up again with Strange Colours producer Kate Laurie, with executive producers Robert Connolly and Liz Kearney of Arenamedia. This project is financed with support from Film Victoria, the MIFF Premiere Fund and SBS.

Luke Buckmaster:
Petrol feels like a quiet act of subversion: a statement, perhaps, against the predictability of popular conventions and the prescriptive nature of genre conventions. ...
[It] invites these kinds of intellectual readings, which one might ponder during its many slow spots. The core mystery involves not what is really happening or even why, but the scope and purpose of the film itself – a mystery that encourages critical thinking, but leaves you feeling emotionally distant.

Richard Brody:
Lodkina borrows one of the most familiar of young filmmakers’ tropes—the drama of a film student struggling to complete a thesis film—and transforms it into something as original as it is personal. ... Lodkina sees Eva leaving behind the monumental but remote ideals of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Beethoven for an experiential idealism of travel, nature, exploration, and even fun. She winds the exquisite artistic and practical ironies of such exertions and discoveries into the substance of the film. Its ambiguities and its quizzical open-endedness is an open door to the cinematic future ... New Yorker.

Alena Lodkina:
Alena Lodkina is a Russian-born, Melbourne-based director, whose second feature Petrol has just premiered at Locarno and is now in the running for MIFF’s Bright Horizons prize.
Her debut Strange Colours screened at MIFF in 2018, after Lodkina graduated from the Accelerator Lab program. Now, she returns to Melbourne for Petrol, an enigmatic drama that follows a film student who gets in over her head. Screenhub.

References and Links

Luke Buckmaster review, Guardian, 13 August 2022.

Garry Gillard | New: 21 May, 2021 | Now: 19 May, 2023