Judy & Punch

Director: Mirrah Foulkes
Screenwriters: Mirrah Foulkes

Institute History

  • 2019 Sundance Film Festival

Description

In the rough-and-tumble town of Seaside (nowhere near the sea), villagers flock to Punch and Judy’s marionette theatre. Though Punch (Damon Herriman) proclaims himself the greatest puppeteer and his beating stick rouses cheers from the crowd, it’s Judy (Mia Wasikowska) who breathes artistry into the otherwise crude show. But during a drinking bout and a tragic mishap with their child, the hot-tempered Punch brutally beats Judy, leaving her for dead in the woods. Taken in by Doctor Goodtime and a society of outcasts, Judy plots her revenge.

Mirrah Foulkes’s imaginative first feature conjures a town given over to fear, superstition, callousness, and mob rule, where a scourge of witchcraft is met with “stoning days.” An allegorical period tale for a modern time, Judy & Punc wryly blends dark humor, revenge-drama tropes, and tongue-in-cheek repurposing of stock elements from traditional Punch and Judy shows (a beating stick, a baby, a crocodile ... ) to fashion a sophisticated, satirical romp. You can beat the devil with your stick, but tomorrow the devil will be you.

— J.N.

Screening Details

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