X (2020 film)
X is a 2020 American independent erotic psychological thriller feature film directed by Scott J. Ramsey, and written by Ramsey and Hannah Katherine Jost. The film premiered at Starburst International Film Festival in Manchester, UK, and went on to screen at U.S. and International film festivals including the 16th Another Hole In The Head film festival in San Francisco, and winning Best Overall Film at the 2019 Indie Gathering in Cleveland, Ohio. The film was released by Cinedigm on TVOD platforms in North America on February 9, 2021.
The story centers around Christian King, known as "X", the chair of a mysterious foundation whose charity balls double as masked sex parties, as she does everything in her power to protect her darkest secret: the hidden camera in her guest bathroom. The film is described by Ramsey as "a feminist/queer spin on the tragedy of the Hitchcockian voyeur with a raw indie edge."
- Hope Raymond as Christian
- Eliza Boivin as Stella Marie
- Brian Smick as Danny
- Zach Cowan as Jackson
- Valerie Façhman as Lynda
With a budget of $150,000 and funded with private financing, the film was Scott J. Ramsey's directorial debut, written by Ramsey and producer Hannah Katherine Jost. Shot entirely on location in Northern California, the film was produced by The Foundation, an independent production company founded by Ramsey, Jost and producer Kevin De Nicolo.
The film received mixed reviews from critics. Ain't It Cool News said of the film, "At times, the low price-tag proves apparent, but despite those moments, I appreciate many elements of the film.(...) X may be less erotic than I expected from the trailer, but I still found it worth my time." In a negative review for the San Francisco Bay Times, Gary Kramer called the film "never quite as risqué as it wants to be. [...] X is crudely made, which may account for its sloppiness. This may be endearing for some viewers; fans of Doris Wishman films should appreciate Ramsey’s style." Kramer concludes, "Ultimately, X is more ambitious than good." In a mixed to negative review for The Culture Pin, Keram Malicki-Sánchez said of the film, "As we get going, ‘X’ is generally well-acted, posted, and realized," but then went on to say, "...the always-tough-to-master-middle-of-the-movie is cumbersome. The beguiling and mysterious madame of the party suddenly becomes less intriguing with the house lights on. (...) Sometimes it is awkward, and ham-fisted and about as sharp a scone. But there are moments."
However, Alan Ng of Film Threat gave the film 8/10 and said, "X gives me what I want the most in my movies: good storytelling. It doesn’t matter who’s in it, the size of the budget, or the nature of the content; just tell a good story. This is exactly what happens here." Writing for Lavender After Dark, Jed Ryan called the film "glossy, highly stylized, and indisputably intriguing", going on to say, "The slick visual aspects of “X” match the provocative subject matter: Director Scott J. Ramsey incorporates some creative cinematographic touches such as split screen and artistic color/lighting effects into several scenes, and it works very well. [...] The acting is quite good, especially the body- and soul-baring performances of Raymond as Christian/”X”/The King and Boivin as Stella. [...] “X” is a cinematic event well worth attending." Sean Patrick of Vocal says of the film, "Not all of X works as a traditional narrative drama, but that’s not necessarily what the makers of X are going for." He goes on, "I love the spirit of X and the lead performance by Hope Raymond who invests Christian with a sharp, sardonic wit." Writing for The Big Picture Magazine, Thomas Puhr says of the film, "Despite some obvious budgetary limitations (it can be rough-edged where it clearly intends to be glossy) and uneven pacing, the film works best when it swings for the fences, as it does during a black-and-white musical interlude reminiscent – quite unexpectedly – of Guy Maddin, a breathless split-screen montage that juxtaposes Christian’s secret life with her banal daytime activities, or even its baroque opening credits sequence. Such moments point to the allure (as well as to the danger) of pretending to be someone we know we aren’t. Donning a mask may help us temporarily forget our insecurities, but it certainly won’t erase them."
Soundtrack and Music Videos
The film's score was composed by Lien Do and producer Kevin De Nicolo. During post-production of the film, director Scott J. Ramsey and De Nicolo formed music act The Major Arcana, which created three original songs for the film's soundtrack. While the film was in post-production, The Foundation produced music videos to three songs from the film's soundtrack, also directed by Ramsey, which screened at U.S. and International film festivals including Bowery Film Festival in New York and Gorst Underground Film Festival in Gorst, WA. The music videos are publicly viewable on The Foundation's YouTube channel. Ramsey says their goal was to "create an immersive story world, that involves storytelling on 3 different levels: the movie, the music we made, and the music videos."
- Ramsey, Scott J. (2019-07-14), X (Comedy, Drama, Thriller), Hope Raymond, Eliza Boivin, Brian Smick, Zachary Cowan
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- Barbarella. "X is Less Erotic Than Expected But That's Not Necessarily A Bad Thing". Aint It Cool News. Retrieved 2021-02-19.
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- "Movie Review: 'X' Camp Erotic Thriller Subverts Expectations". Filthy. Retrieved 2021-02-11.
- "New Releases: X | The Big Picture Magazine". Retrieved 2021-02-11.
- Stories, Local. "Meet Scott J. Ramsey of The Foundation in North Hollywood - Voyage LA Magazine | LA City Guide". Retrieved 2020-09-09.
- andersonenvy. "FOOL - Directed by Scott J. Ramsey". Bowery Film Festival. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
- "2019 interview with director Scott J. Ramsey of GUFFestival selections, "Knave"". YouTube. September 10, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2020. Unknown parameter
- "X - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
Category:2020 films Category:English-language films Category:American independent films Category:American LGBT-related films Category:2020 directorial debut films Category:Films shot in California Category:2020 LGBT-related films Category:American films Category:American thriller films Category:American psychological thriller films
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