Carla Juri in Wetlands

Strand Releasing

Never in my life have I been so engrossed in that which is gross. That’s perhaps my second thought after seeing David Wnendt’s Wetlands at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival. My first thought: “Ewww…” I wasn’t alone:

According to the PR email accompanying this new “pink band” trailer for the film’s theatrical release, Wetlands is “an unapologetically vulgar coming-of-age tale about divorce, first love and anal fissures.” That pretty much sums it up. The story of an eighteen year-old girl named Helen (Carla Juri) who is into skateboarding and rebelling against the tenets of personal hygiene. As she explains in the film’s opening monologue, she’s decided to treat her body like an active science experiment. She’s out to break the glass ceilings of society’s taboos and we’re along for the ride. Just bring your dramamine.

What’s most interesting about Wetlands, beyond the “Eww” factor of its central character’s actions, is how magnetic Helen is despite all of her less-than-savory actions. As one who doesn’t usually go in for the gross stuff, I couldn’t bring myself to look away. The story, based on a novel by Charlotte Roche that has often by criticized as “cleverly marketed pornography,” has plenty of humanity. Helen’s eccentricities, if we can call them that, are often overshadowed by the dynamic relationships she has with family, friends and subsequently plenty of hospital staff. From a friend who is willing to go with her on her bodily fluid odyssey (but only so far) to her attempts to woo the nurse tending to her anal fissure to her attempts to manipulate her parents into a reconciliation, Helen’s story is interesting. The gross is just a side note.

A very prominent, blood and puss covered side note.

You can get a small taste of what Wetlands has in store for you in the trailer below. Be warned, it’s very NSFW. The film hits theaters in 20 cities on September 5 with more to follow. To say the absolute least, it’s sure to be one of the most memorable movies of 2014 for those who see it.

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