- Test Pattern
- Shatara Michelle Ford
“A must-see gem … One of the year’s first true discoveries.”Kate Erbland, IndieWire
Intersections of race, sexual assault, and the American health care system are deftly navigated in gifted newcomer Shatara Michelle Ford’s quietly blistering and assured debut feature. Ranesha (Brittany S. Hall), a Black corporate worker, and Evan (Will Brill), a White tattoo artist, are an interracial couple settling into the rhythms a long-term, live-in relationship when Ranesha, out with a girlfriend one evening, is drugged and raped. Ford’s of-the-moment film, set in Austin, Texas and told through a vital Black female lens, deals mostly with the fallout the next morning, as a distraught Evan struggles to find Ranesha a hospital that has both a rape kit available and a doctor qualified to administer it. As the punishing charade stretches on, imbalances of power, in the medical system and in the couple’s relationship, take shape. Something of a transatlantic cousin to Michaela Coel’s excellent British TV series I May Destroy You, which treads similar sobering terrain, Test Pattern is a riveting, slow-boil drama on the inequities faced by survivors of rape in America.
Watch a conversation between Test Pattern writer-director Shatara Michelle Ford and filmmaker James Gray (The Immigrant, Ad Astra) here.
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“Test Pattern offers a fresh way of examining sexual assault and its aftermath on screen, one that feels just as emblematic of its moment as Thelma & Louise.”Soraya Nadia McDonald, Film Comment