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Anna Rose HOLMER
Eleven-year-old tomboy Toni (a showstopping Royalty Hightower) is bewitched by the tight-knit dance team she sees practicing in the same Cincinnati gymnasium where she boxes. Enamored by the power and confidence of the strong community of girls, Toni spends less and less time boxing with her older brother, and instead eagerly absorbs the dance routines and masters drills from a distance, and even pierces her own ears in an effort to fit in. But when a mysterious outbreak of fainting spells plagues the team, Toni’s desire for acceptance becomes more complicated. Gorgeously shot and with a mesmerizing score, The Fits is a transformative experience and a marvelous portrait of adolescence.
11-year-old tomboy Toni often spends her time boxing with her older brother. In the same community gymnasium where she boxes, a group of girls who are about the same age as Toni also spend their time practicing dance. The gymnasium is divided into two spaces: one occupied by the boys who box and another by the girls who dance. Enamored by the power and confidence of the close-knit dance team, Toni also falls in love with dancing. However, mysterious seizure-like “fits” spread across the dance team, in particular, among the girls aged 15 and older. After watching the older girls collapsing and suffering from hysterical fits during their aggressive dancing practice, the younger girls start to mimic the behaviors of the older girls. Toni spends less and less time boxing with her brother, who always has been her best friend, and befriends other girls of her age. The film shows a series of shots of Toni performing in front of other kids, in the empty pool, and in the boxing ring and collapsing as if she were knocked down during a boxing match. Then, it ends with the shot of Toni who smiles. This private and visually stunning film explores an adolescent girl’s strange fits of passion from a gender-sensitive perspective. The original title \"The Fits\" has a double meaning. On one hand, it signifies the “fits” the girls suffer from, which can be considered as an important device heightening the tension in the plot. On the other hand, it works to raise a question about what the “appropriate and ideal” gender performance would be for tomboy Toni. Toni, who used to enjoy boxing, begins to identify more with the girls in the dance team and learn about the girl culture exemplified by girls’ earrings, stickers, small-talk about boys, and glittery uniform skirts. It is the final sequence capturing Toni’s awkward dance moves hardly distinguishable from her boxing moves that makes Toni torn between a boy culture and a girl culture. (Sunah KIM)
Anna Rose HOLMERAnna Rose HOLMER
Anna Rose HOLMER was listed as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film 2015.” Her narrative directorial debut, The Fits is a selection of the Venice Biennale College 2014/2015 and the Sundance Institute Editing Intensive Fellowship. She recently produced Jody LEE LIPES’s BALLET 422 and Mike PLUNKETT’s Salero. Anna’s first documentary feature, Twelve Ways to Sunday, was one of ten films to participate in IFP’s 2009 Documentary Filmmaker Lab andpremiered with Rooftop Films in 2010.