Thursday, April 29, 2021

Queen of Hearts: A Twin Peaks Fan Film, An Early Look

When filmmaker Cameron Cloutier asked me to check out the early version of his film, Queen of Hearts: A Twin Peaks Fan Film, I was immediately interested. Doing re-watches of the Twin Peaks series along with Fire Walk With Me is something I do at least once every few years. Of course Mark Frost's books, The Secret History of Twin Peaks: A Novel and Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier have provided additional content to enjoy, but getting a chance to revisit the Twin Peaks aesthetic while experiencing the characters of Annie Blackburn and Caroline Powell (with several other familiar faces by their sides) in their own original stories was a very unique and exciting journey. Overall I think Queen of Hearts is a clever story with beautiful imagery and a ton of heart from its creator, cast, and crew.

Annie Blackburn (Madison Bates) is still the newly-crowned Miss Twin Peaks and her escape from The Black Lodge after being abducted by Windom Earl (Paul Griffith Springer) drives the majority of the film's events but she's not entirely on her own. Caroline Powell (Charlotte Roi), Earl's wife and move-for-move partner in eccentricity, enjoys a queen-like power over her husband, over a young and eager Agent Cooper (Nico Abiera), and over the developments that would eventually influence Cooper and Annie's experiences in the greater Twin Peaks narrative. Though woven together skillfully, Annie's and Caroline's stories are not just an afterward and beforehand of the original series but also entirely new adventures, themselves: Annie's are vulnerable, powerful, and linked strongly to Major Briggs (Larry Oblander, II); Caroline's are mysterious, worrisome, and linked to Cooper. Once we begin to understand these two queens we can appreciate their similarities, not just in relation to the men they pair with but in relation to things a whole lot bigger in general. 

Central to the story is also the concept of place, and the visuals in each scene honor the Twin Peaks locations and landmarks we already know while also introducing new ones, just as interesting. Colors and patterns jump out and captivate while trees, bridges, and familiar signage bring intense feelings of nostalgia. The music choices enhance these visual experiences by offering a just-right balance between pop and instrumental, playful and serious. Though there are questions and impossibilities posed by the narrative, we are well-practiced members of this very specific fandom and we can handle them, always in good hands with these skillful technical elements while waiting for answers and enjoying each aesthetic moment. 

Most Twin Peaks fans have their favorites, who they love, who intrigues them, who they want to be.  Personally I never really connected to Annie Blackburn as a character before, as a younger viewer I spent most of my time rotating my interest between Laura Palmer's power and Lucy's outfits. After this journey and in taking in the overall theme of the film (no spoilers!), there is definitely a connection, now. This was a fun, inspiring film, and I'm glad to know Annie's out there, much bigger now than any of us ever knew. Here's to the next adventure! 

Madison Bates as Annie Blackburn


Anonymous said...

Thank you Anna! Sounds like we´re infor quite a ride :)

Anonymous said...

Despite ever-silent rumblings from a highly-varied television "fan" community that seems to further divide on a weekly basis THIS CC creation WILL BE resoundingly impactful(thumb downERS may indeed REevaluate - a f t e r - their accidental engrossing) we thank you MA'AM ( ! )

jamikisses said...

I have no doubts that this film will be a fantastic addition to the Twin Peaks universe!