Austin Film Festival Review: Disfluency: Communication Break In This Award-Winning Drama – Screens

“As you know, speech is not perfect, because we are not perfect.” These first words from the winner of the Austin Film Festival Narrative Drama Jury Prize Disfluence are spoken by a teacher as student Jane (Libe Barer) dreams.

From the vivid and menacing dream sequence to the interactions that ensue after waking up, it’s clear that Jane is not only studying speech and communication, but has a very personal and special relationship with them. This curiosity is explored when Jane sits next to the young child she is babysitting. She watches him; she does her best to engage with him. Struggling to get a reaction, she notices something that resembles her own experiences and childhood. When the mother of the child arrives home, Jane tries to give her a glimpse, but these revelations prove difficult for the mother to digest.

Disfluence follows Jane as she returns to her family’s home after enduring a traumatic final year in college. With a change of pace from her busy, work-centric life, Jane has very few plans for the summer, allowing her to rediscover new relationships from her teenage years.

Reluctant to talk about her experiences, she befriends a neighbor, Amber (Alden), who gave birth to a child shortly after graduating from high school. After Jane’s initial observation while babysitting Amber’s son, the two eventually begin to work together in unexpected ways that lead to a surprising friendship. Like the connection of women, Disfluence is filled with dynamic relationships that come together to tell a compelling and compelling story about the connections between trauma and communication.

Characters like Jane’s conservative father (Ricky Wayne), eager-to-please sister (Ariela Barer), strict mother (Diana DeLaCruz), and shady childhood friend (Travis Tope) are written so intentionally that they create an intimate and personal atmosphere. perspective on Jane’s experiences, offering completely unexpected perspectives. Through these relationships come tender moments of authenticity that not only add to the intimacy, but enhance the attention to detail when paid for in such a conscious way.

If there are moments of dialogue and interaction between the characters where the message of the film is very explicit, even brutal, they are more than compensated by the authenticity that emerges from the film. Through attention to detail, dynamic character relationships, and strong performances, Disfluency is proven to clearly communicate a meaningful and insightful story that is sure to leave a strong impression.


Disfluence

Winner of the Jury Prize for Narrative Feature

Austin Film Festival, October 21-28. Find all our news, reviews and interviews on austinchronicle.com/austin-film-festival.

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