Movie Review: “Violet” Screening at AFI FEST Presented By Audi

VioletViolet is an interesting film that straddles the razors edge of student film and art film. The first thing that struck me regarding the film was its aspect ratio. It abandoned the conventional anamorphic or 16 by 9 ratio in favor of a 3 by 4 ratio. I found this distracting. The opening scene was cleverly shot using 4 monitors from video surveillance cams in the mall where Jesse witnessed a violent stabbing of a friend and fellow BMX cyclist in a Mall corridor. Jesse passively looks on as the youth gang beats and stabs his friend to death. This choice allows the viewer to witness the violence from 4 different angles simultaneously and at the same time one can choose in a directorial fashion what angle seems to tell the story most effectively in a subjective manner. It has minimal dialog and uses visuals to tell the story. Throughout the film there are stunning visual moments capturing “BMXers” riding and negotiating various courses. But the film mostly broods and decays Jesse’s mental state in gradual degrees. A quick summery of Violet’s aesthetic is THX 1138 meets BMX culture. It was an interesting and at times colorful ride but strains one’s patience with the occasional tedious vacuums of Nietzsche-esque voids. It would have been better made into a short.

Billy Bennight

About Billy Bennight

Billy Bennight is a writer and photographer with expertise and years of experience in these disciplines. His musical youth started as a Punk Rocker and has expanded into exploring many genres of music, with a keen interest in art, fashion, photography, and writing. He shoots celebrity and red-carpet events for ZUMA Press. He is also a member of the Los Angeles Art Association. His images have been published in The Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, Parade, Wall Street Journal, and French Elle, both Vanity Fair and Vanity Fair Italia. He's very engaged in life. You an see more of his work at ZUMA Press at You can follow him on his Facebook page at: and on Instagram and Twitter @billybennight
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