Photo: Jason Miller

“Two outstanding performances anchor critic/filmmaker Dan Sallitt’s fourth feature Fourteen, which elliptically chronicles the final years in a long-standing friendship between two contrasting young women… Tallie Medel, a diminutive Alaskan actress-dancer with Alita-like eyes, whose special qualities have so far been underutilized by American cinema. That may change thanks to Sallitt’s sensitively-handled study of platonic love and the devastating impact of mental illness, while it should also propel lanky, drawling knockout Norma Kuhling — a relative newcomer who has something of a young Jessica Lange about her — to higher-profile roles… Kuhling has sufficient space to develop a three-dimensional characterization of a deeply troubled person seemingly beyond the help of medication or psychiatric care. Medel, seldom off-screen, turns in a marvelous, utterly engaging portrait of an intelligent, caring person slowly stretched to breaking point.” – Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter

“The fifth feature by revered critic, compulsive cinephile, and occasional filmmaker Dan Sallitt, Fourteen is a modest but gradually — and, in the end, greatly  affecting sketch of how even the closest of friendships can shift and wither over the years… Fourteen isn’t aspiring towards the naturalism suggested by its unfussy aesthetic, but rather trying to mine a deeper kind of truth from the friction between the rigidity of Sallitt’s framing and the casualness of his action… When lifetimes of latent drama come home to roost in the surprisingly eventful final scenes, Fourteen builds to an unsparingly lucid assessment of what two friends can take from — and carry for — each other.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

A generation older than the DIY filmmakers (he was born in 1955), (Sallitt’s) approach is nonetheless that of handmade cinema, closely connected to his actors and to the neighborhoods of his city. But his intimist tropism, like that of his influences (Jacques Doillon, Mia Hansen-Love), also marks him as the American cousin of the French cinema. Watching his films from France creates an odd perspective…Thanks to an unsettling relationship to time (sudden ellipses, unexpected drama, the passing of seasons and even years, but without real indications of time passed or physical transformation of the characters), romantic scope and a pleasure in immediacy are carefully woven together…This is a cinema made among friends (but without excluding the viewer) that is concerned with the most precious mystery of existence: how friendship can span the seasons of life and regenerate itself.” – Joaquim Lepastier, Cahiers du Cinema (translated from the French)

Fourteen, the fourth feature film from the talented but underseen New York filmmaker Dan Sallitt, is a bittersweet breakup movie – only in this case, the relationship is platonic… Sallitt has a great ear for zesty dialogue. Whenever Mara and Jo interact, their conversations are both casually nonchalant and screwball sharp. Similarly crisp is the framing and editing, which is more expressive than we’ve come to expect from this breed of low-budget US indie filmmaking…It’s rare in cinema to see such a fine-grained portrait of friendship, particularly a spiky female one. Sallitt’s thoughtful, incisive film articulates the feeling of an intense companionship fading imperceptibly over time, and shows such relationships to be just as complex, tempestuous and painful as those of the romantic variety.” – Jamie Dunn, Sight & Sound

“The work of New York’s Dan Sallitt reaches screens so infrequently (his previous film, The Unspeakable Act, premiered in 2012) that, when it does, it only accentuates what so much American cinema lacks. His latest, Fourteen, a beautifully understated portrait of two lifelong friends (played by Tallie Medel and Norma Kuhling) who slowly grow up and apart from one another, approaches female friendship and young adulthood with tenderness and a nuanced understanding of time and its passing. Again looking to the less fashionable ends of French cinema for inspiration (Maurice Pialat, mid-period Éric Rohmer), Sallitt paints an clear-eyed portrait of flawed, recognizable people, devoid of untoward drama but pitched at a level of such honesty as to unsettle with its emotional acuity.” – Jordan Cronk, Film Comment

“Sallitt’s too-infrequent filmmaking efforts, all self-funded, always feel like they come from another planet of cinema entirely from what is being made in America on either end of the budget scale. Their level of psychological penetration, dramatic concentration and narrative abruptness feels off-trend but very (and perhaps all the more so) potent… Fourteen, like the director’s last film, The Unspeakable Act (2012), is a spare and emotionally bracing drama that quickly defines full, complicated characters with roiling interiority, and puts them through bold stories that challenge their conceptions of self and our understanding of their psychologies and spirit. Like his last film, Sallitt’s latest features Tallie Medel in the lead, truly one of the most evocative and interesting actresses working in American cinema, one whose huge eyes, moppet haircut, and small stature allow for clownishly expressive behavior akin to Giulietta Masina.” – Daniel Kasman, MUBI

“As Mara, Tallie Medel, who starred in Sallitt’s incest drama The Unspeakable Act, is piercing, present and centred. As Jo, relative newcomer Norma Kuhling creates a delicate portrait of someone who seems wry and spontaneous, but who is quietly, incrementally losing her shit… There’s no Rosebud smoking gun to explain what caused her problems, and indeed Fourteen is a film that resists histrionics and over-explanation at each of its stages… Life often works the way it does in this film – chapters reveal themselves driftingly, or in hindsight, rather than with outbursts or crystallising speeches, and as we get older, we surprise ourselves with what we can get used to, whether it’s the pram in the hallway or the monkey on our back. When the tearful scene in Fourteen comes, a lot of chances have already passed by. This is a wonderful, subtly devastating film from a voice in American independent cinema that will hopefully become better known.” – Ian Mantgani, Little White Lies

“Almost casually, in an everyday manner, without hysteria or visual bells and whistles, Fourteen develops a peculiar charm. The jumps in the narrative, the emotional states that are often only suggested, give the film a rare credibility…Very sweet and very sad. But above all, very real.” – Thomas Klein, Berliner Zeitung (translated from the German)

“The highlights (of the Berlinale Forum) ranged from Thomas Heise’s epic essay film, Heimat is a Space in Time, to Fourteen, veteran American indie filmmaker Dan Sallitt’s ode to female friendship.” – Richard Porton, Cineaste 

“Another of Sallitt’s principal virtues as a filmmaker, a virtue that once again stands out in his new film, is his exceptional ability to direct actresses, as evidenced by the incredible work of Tallie Medel, whom we’ve already enjoyed in the wonderful The Unspeakable Act, and Norma Kuhling, who is revealed as a superlative actress… Remarkable and genuine… More than anything, it is in its multiple ellipses, in its outstanding use of what’s outside of the frame, where the key events that we do not see take place. Ellipses that accumulate gradually, increasingly frequent and longer. A skill masterfully employed, through which Sallitt manages to camouflage the overwhelming drama that hides under a supposed surface of light comedy. A major achievement if we remember that the film never ceases to be absolutely honest.” Joan Sala, Filmin (translated from the Spanish) 

One of the best things that can be said about Sallitt is that he is a filmmaker almost completely averse to rhetoric…If the usual modes of acting mandate that when, for example, a feeling is repressed, the actor do something to “speak” that act of repression, in Sallitt’s films we rarely see anything like this. As a result, extraordinary but unusual actors flourish in his films, fearless actors like the extraordinary Tallie Medel, who turns immobility or even inexpressiveness into her greatest moments…In Fourteen, the long development of the friendship between the two girls is organized around a gradual process of decay that culminates, via a masterful chain reaction that combines personal history, a fable-like story, and a child’s viewpoint, in a brief but very exciting scene that shows that Sallitt is also a precise and intelligent storyteller and screenwriter…He is the rare instance of a filmmaker who does not speak loudly, who trusts in the power of what is not said, honest enough never to point a finger at the places where it is revealed.” – Ruben Garcia Lopez, El Agente Cine (translated from the Spanish)

“A beautiful American film…On a familiar canvas that we see only too often in an independent cinema that’s not immune to clichés, Dan Sallitt executes a bracingly purified playbook, which one wishes the followers of Ira Sachs would take as an inspiration: hard cuts à la Pialat (the model for the filmmaker, marked for life by À nos amours), the total absence of music in a deliberately casual soundtrack done by the director himself, sudden ellipses that move us through time without highlighting the actors’ physical changes. One might find the agenda a bit repetitive: nonetheless, we have before us a filmmaker as elegant as he is empowered, galvanized by a leading actress who should be spoken about more often (Tallie Medel), who has reconciled us to New York cinema made for less than $100,000. N. B. to French distributors who would like to liven up their lineup.” – Gautier Roos, (translated from the French)

“Our gradual realization of time passing gives great strength to the film, and the use of creative and sometimes bold ellipses within the narrative is remarkable. Sallitt makes the progression of friendship and its incompatibilities incredibly realistic… Fourteen distinguishes itself from the average independent American film and seems closer to the cinema of French director Éric Rohmer.” – Sérgio Alpendre, Folha de S. Paulo (translated from the Portuguese)

“Mara and Jo (embodied by Tallie Medel and Norma Kuhling, both equally touched by the wand of charming naturalness) are the two legs upon which the film advances, with an ironic focus on the past… Knowing the impossibility of clear answers, the filmmaker does not interfere, he only observes and takes note of what he sees and hears. Here we have a buoyant cinema of dialogue that celebrates friendship as a healing but at the same time vampirizing force.” – Victor Esquirol, Otros Cines (translated from the Spanish) 

“Young, cynical, endearing girls wandering around New York and its suburbs? One could think oneself on the well-known beaten path of mumblecore, that genre of neurotic intellectual comedy. The moreso as Jo, at the limit of vocal fry, actually mumbles her lines. But something is off. The conversations seem never to be for major stakes, the rhythm is suspiciously lethargic, and humor rarely breaks through as much as one would expect. There hovers over this story a coldness and especially a strange acrimony that one would think came from Korea rather than Manhattan. As if lovable craziness was leading a bit at a time to something more depressing, to outright madness.

“Gradually, what was not immediately apparent to the eye is shown more visibly: though the clues aren’t obvious, we understand that between each scene more and more time passes. Just a few minutes at the beginning, then weeks, then months … The lives of Jo and Mara take different paths. It could be a simple scenario gimmick, but Fourteen refuses melodramatic shortcuts in a radical way, and continues to show us only everyday scenes of discussion, at a street corner, in a cafe, but more and more often on the telephone.

“And paradoxically, it is by following this path that the film will become more and more dark, more and more moving. In the gaps between these discussions that become more and more strained, in the ellipses and the things not said, Fourteen draws a portrait of a friendship that comes apart with infinite sadness, an emotional shipwreck of a punishing bitterness. The result shines with a rare brilliance that breaks the heart.” – Gregory Coutaut, Le Polyester (translated from the French)

In Fourteen, we meet Mara (the magnificent Tallie Medel, a perfect fit to Sallitt’s cinema) and Jo (Norma Kuhling), as a couple of friends who try to live life as best they can…We can love very deeply those near to us (how not to love that Jo who appears in a story Mara tells her daughter before bedtime), but it is also worth remembering that we can not save them all when the abyss in front of them is so, so big.” – Carlos Quiñones, La Pantalla Invisible (translated from the Spanish)

“Norma Kuhling (is) utterly astonishing…a quietly devastating duet.” – Mike D’Angelo, Letterboxd

“Without undue melodrama or exaggeration, Sallitt (with the help of his two exquisite lead actresses) presents this scenario as a kind of plainspoken tragedy, something that is simultaneously recognizable and intensely specific.” – Michael Sicinski, Letterboxd

“Dan Sallitt’s Fourteen represents American independent cinema at its best: narrative freedom, the refusal of special effects, realistic dramas and complex situations. And yet it avoids the pitfalls of this kind of aesthetic and gives us a very clever dramatic construction with bold ellipses and jumps in time.” – Sérgio Alpendre, Olhar Digital (translated from the Portuguese)

“Dan Sallitt’s Fourteen starts off as the story of a particular friendship’s oddities, but its layered psychological structure touches on a universal truth about the enigmatic nature of intimacy…His distinctive style—precise framing, long takes capturing seemingly mundane episodes, toned-down color scheme and minimal sound—tunes down the background, allowing complex characters, impeccably portrayed by the actors, to dig into their own psyche so deep, that even skeptics would concede to the existence of a soul…Norma Kuhling’s renegade boho-style looks fit perfectly with her negligent tone, to form the enigmatic image of Jo as a “basket case,” a troubled young woman who is characterized not by introspective comments or self-reflection, but by her failed jobs, dissolving relationships, and violent outbursts. Yet, in the maternal eyes of tenderhearted Mara, Jo exists as a hedonistic goddess, an attractive combination of flaws and idealism that give color and vibrancy to an otherwise grey life…Tallie Medel is the brightest gem in the clique of actors and actresses Sallitt usually works with.” – Savina Petkova, Photogénie

“It is rewarding to see how Sallitt demonstrates control over the narrative by foregrounding Mara’s trajectory without disrespecting Jo’s. In the long run, it is perfectly possible as a spectator to identify with the dilemmas of the two women without one supplanting the other… It is also interesting to see how Sallitt depicts the strain on the two without diminishing the happy moments between them…To emphasize the slower pace of the plot, the director makes use of  a stationary camera and open compositions in which a character takes several seconds to move from one end of the screen to the other. This tone used by Sallitt is fundamental to the development of Kuhling’s and (especially) Medel’s performances. The two actresses not only seem completely at home in the skin of Mara and Jo, but also carry on their shoulders much of the intensity generated as the drama progresses. And. just as the first acts lead us through conflicting emotions, Fourteen‘s outcome is equally bittersweet, provoking contradictory feelings of relief and anguish in the face of a shocking yet predictable situation.” – Sarah Lyra, AdoroCinema (translated from the Portuguese)

“Director Dan Sallitt’s formal choices make the story, which seems simple at first glance, interesting and fresh. The sections without dialogue use the camera particularly well to convey the passage of time… The film’s serene attitude is inversely proportional to the intensification of its drama… The effective acting of Tallie Medel contributes greatly to the film’s power.” – Tuncay Uravelli, Bir Dunya Film (translated from the Turkish)

“But the Berlinale would not be the Berlinale if it did not have a small parallel masterpiece to hide: in the Forum section, the counterpart (to the opening film The Kindness of Strangers) screened near the beginning…Filmmaker and critic Dan Sallitt tells the tragic story of the friendship of two young women via the art of omission. Key events in the years-long story are discreetly conveyed in subordinate clauses, while its emotionality is articulated with a genuine sense of the everyday – and in the wonderful acting of the young talents Tallie Medel and Norma Kuhling.” – Daniel Kothenschulte, Frankfurter Rundschau (translated from the German)

“Medel, already familiar with Sallitt’s dialogue-heavy approach from her breakout role in The Unspeakable Act, steers the film commendably, but it’s Kuhling who steals the show. She speaks in a seemingly confident yet self-revising hurry, switching erratically between assertion and confession with her awkward body language, and the hysteric quiver under her voice quietly amplifying a cry-for-help timbre.” – Patrick Gamble, CineVue

Fourteen stars Tallie Medel – who got her first break playing the lead in The Unspeakable Act in 2012 – in a deeply felt and sympathetic lead performance… Mara, for her part, is always there for Jo and Sallitt will leave explaining the woman’s exact reasons why till late in the day, during a quietly moving scene at a bedside – by which point I was already comfortably nestled in this film’s embracing hands.” – Rory O’Connor, The Film Stage

“Dan Sallitt’s thoughtful and accomplished character study is compulsively watchable, well written and elegantly framed with a meditative quality that pays tribute to its slow-emerging subject matter: Jo’s deteriorating state of mind. Norma Kuhling’s tour de force as this fragile, fractious young soul is one of the more nuanced and engaging performances of the year so far. She combines the poise, elegance and authority of a modern day Marlene Dietrich, capturing the wit of Dorothy Parker in some of her choice lines. And we don’t understand her crumbling state of mind until the film is well into its second half, where the tone darkens, avoiding histrionics apart from one remarkable scene where Jo gradually dissolves into a well of desperation. And we feel for her as her state of mind implodes. Tallie Medel (Mara) is a fine counterbalance in this richly satisfying portrait of modern womanhood…Their friendship is a wonderful thing that avoids sentimentality or seething outbursts.” – Meredith Taylor, Filmuforia

Fourteen is a lesson in subtlety and realism…It’s an insightful and remarkably smooth film, which resonates with audiences as it delicately observes the unfolding of two lives. Medel and Kuhling adroitly underplay their characters, befitting the film’s low-key chilled temperament, where silences, awkward moments and motionless camera angles speak volumes.” – Daniel Theophanous, Candid Magazine

Fourteen (2019), by Dan Sallitt, almost a female version of Sorry Angel, reminiscent of the atmosphere and sensitivity of Ira Sachs’s cinema, is populated by characters of rare truthfulness and manages emotion with a sense of balance worthy of Yasujirô Ozu.” – Lucas Santos, Transit (translated from the Spanish)

“Sallitt generously provides enough ambiguity that viewers aren’t forced to come to any particular conclusion about these women, and Medel’s understated depth plays beautifully against Kuhling’s more bombastic performance.” – Joe Biglin, In Review Online

Fourteen treats a modern friendship’s depth, dysfunction, and ever-changing dynamics as romantic or familial relationships are more often treated in cinema: with immense, non-judgmental compassion for its subjects and a reverence towards their bond.” – Carmen Paddock, One Room With a View

“One of the best films in the Forum section…Both actresses are tremendous and, though they had never worked together before, manage to transmit to the viewer a sense of real friendship and complicity. In the scenes where they are alone together (chatting about Jo’s new boyfriend, or in Jo’s childhood room) they express an intimacy within reach of few directors. In the case of Tallie Medel, who had already been directed by Dan Sallitt in The Unspeakable Act (2012) – where she played a young girl in love with her brother – the subtlety and simplicity she achieves in Fourteen is particularly striking, as it takes her away from her usual, more expressive modes (in forms such as dance, stand-up comedy or music videos).” Fee Reega, Transit (translated from the Spanish)

“Alaskan actress Tallie Medel’s talent illuminates this drama about the long-time friendship of two women with completely different personalities and desires…Apartments, places, lovers, and beautiful New York City are witness to and an anchor for Mara and Jo’s encounters and partings. With simplicity and discretion, Sallitt captures in his images the essence of the passage of time.” – Fátima Gigliotti, OQVER (translated from the Portuguese)

“Outside of Sallitt’s writing and directing the main aspect that ensures the film’s success would be the phenomenal work from both Tallie Medel and Norma Kuhling.” – Kevin Rakestraw, Film Pulse

“The first surprise of the Forum, and one of the most exciting events of the Berlinale, was Fourteen, which at first seemed to be an ordinary US independent. Technically very simple (even without direction, one might say), but with a very good scenario and very good actors, this film gracefully examines the slow death of a friendship from the wounds it has received over the years. Fourteen, which seems to have come out of the golden age of US independents, is a small film that manages to strike the audience by an accumulation of small moments. Its star Tallie Medel deserves appreciation for her seamless performance, which is like Sallitt’s direction in the sense that it does not announce its existence.” – Kaan Karsan, Ekşi Sinema (translated from the Turkish)

“The truth explodes on the screen at all times…We leave the cinema taking with us a little of what we learned from the characters, their experiences and their pain. And especially what we don’t learn, because life doesn’t always teach us anything. And this is a truth that Fourteen is bold enough not to hide from us.” – Thiago B. Mendonça, Epoca (translated from the Portuguese)

“As the film slowly reels you in, it reveals itself to be a story about the nature of friendship, with its frequently unaddressed conditions. The film overcomes its restrictive budget with smart storytelling, never once stooping to overwrought observations or faux-profound musings to explain away depression or the complexities of relationships.” – David Mouriquand, Exberliner

“Dan Sallitt’s film, which attracts attention with the performances of the leading actors, is one of the best American independents of the year.” – Altyazi (translated from the Turkish)

“A delicate, high-quality, low-speed drama, deftly directed by Dan Sallitt, who has a love for daring, well-judged jump cuts.” – Jim Schembri, 3AW, 693 AM

Fourteen is a beautiful, humorous and understated chronicle of the friendship of two girls who could not be more different.” – Jurica Pavičić, Jutarnji (translated from the Croatian)

“A curious gaze that strives to understand female friendships instead of defining them, and two extraordinary lead performances that retain their world-weariness.” – Poulomi Das, Talent Press

“Powerful dialogue that feels as if it were improvised by leading actresses Tallie Medel and Norma Kuhling.” – Clenon Ferreira, O Popular (translated from the Portuguese)

“(Kuhling) gives credibility to her character’s arc, moving from a frivolous young woman to a person drowning in depression and addiction. On the other side, Medel – who appears in most of the scenes in the movie – does a fine job breathing life into Jo’s antithesis… The twenty final minutes lead to a melancholy and emotionally demanding conclusion, for both the characters and the audience.” – Daniel Derosa, Rota Cult (translated from the Portuguese)

“Sallitt tells his story elliptically and with casual precision…two fantastic actresses.” – Jens Balkenborg, EPD Film (translated from the German)

“A leisurely sense of time, sober direction, very natural performances, big ellipses, a portrait of everyday life with few surprises and little glamour. These elements, usually more associated with the European style of filmmaking, make Fourteen a beautiful, small but great movie about friendship in difficult times.” – Celso Sabadin, Planeta Tela (translated from the Portuguese)

“Actress Tallie Medel is certainly the highlight…The director shoots everything in rigorous, non-judgmental medium shot, providing equal space and importance to every situation and character. It is rare in the cinema to see such a refined portrait of friendship, particularly between women.” – Alvaro Tallarico, BLAH!ZINGA (translated from the Portuguese)

Fourteen depicts with great sincerity and sensitivity the dynamics of a long friendship.” – Domingos Neto, Novidades Online (translated from the Portuguese)

“This is perhaps the most precise, yet authentic and unpretentious study of friendship that has appeared in the cinema…ever? The episodic structure, covering several years, made from scraps of the heroines’ lives at various stages, is as wonderfully charming as the modest plots of Hong Sang-soo, but it’s the conscious and powerful inspiration of the vintage French cinema of the 1970s – Rohmer, Doillon, Akerman, Eustache – that makes Fourteen brilliant in its simplicity, yet sophisticated and detailed cinema with an emotional charge of the highest caliber.” – Kasia with Love (blog) (translated from the Polish)

Fourteen and the discovery of Dan Sallitt, veteran American filmmaker, virtually unshown in our country, has been the great and pleasant surprise of our journey through the festival. The film is an honest and sincere portrait that conveys in each shot love for its protagonists (embodied by two great actresses, Tallie Medel and Norma Kuhling)…A film whose frontality, clean lines and apparent simplicity hides a precision and exactitude to the millimeter in the construction of its planes and its narrative scaffolding. A wonderful movie, simple in its depth, likable and entertaining, in which, however, appears a sadness that shows how hard and painful life can be.” – Joaquín Fabregat, La imagen que habla (blog) (translated from the Spanish)

“Far from knee-slapping comedy, with great affection for its two cynical and deliberately out-of-sync heroines (incarnated to perfection), Fourteen focuses on the purity of effects and feelings, and unhesitatingly tills the field of intimate drama with a welcome reserve (or rather realism), chaining together ellipses and discussions both banal and emotional with disconcerting ease, the better to depict the bitter, overwhelming unhappiness of a dying friendship.

“Sad and unusually uncompromising and true, the film recounts the predestined shipwreck of a supposedly eternal connection that is confronted with the hard and implacable laws of life. A delicate, never facile and frankly depressing portrait, really worth a look.” – John Chevrier, Fucking Cinephiles (blog) (translated from the French)

“With a touch of humor that is well-judged and true, Sallitt manages to concentrate, with beauty and without exaggeration, all the injustice and sadness of the world.” – Mario Iglesias, El Fondo del Aire Es Rojo (translated from the Spanish)

“The film captures something as ineffable as the feeling of aging. The extraordinary thing about Fourteen is that (Sallitt) manages to create this sensation with the simple use of cinematic spaces – those of the past and those of the present – and times. A goal that for some would inspire a parade of sentimental hyperbole is achieved here with something as apparently neutral as time. It would seem that cinema, the art of movement, had forgotten its own qualities if it were not for examples like this, where it is clear that time is the only thing that matters. “- Guillermo Martínez, Armonias de Cine (blog) (translated from the Spanish)

“American critic and filmmaker Dan Sallitt, in his fourth feature film, all of them independent, presents a delicate and subtly devastating portrait of a long friendship between two very different young women, Mara and Jo, and of depression (a theme covered in his earlier film All the Ships at Sea).The director intentionally keeps several dramatic incidents off screen and shows events from Mara’s viewpoint, and thus gives us a story of almost documentary honesty about our perception of the existence of depression, and the helplessness of those who deal with this illness in friends or family… Dan Sallitt rarely moves his camera, facing his characters steadily and troublingly. Tallie Medel (an actress from Alaska), who starred in the director’s previous film The Unspeakable Act, plays Mara in harmony with the director’s vision, and is a great counterpoint to relative newcomer Norma Kuhling, who depicts the character Jo as spontaneous and deeply troubled, gradually falling apart. The script and direction benefit from both performances.” – Marcia Cantanhede, Cine e Ilumine (Facebook blog) (translated from the Portuguese)

“We see the story from Mara’s point of view, and Sallitt’s storytelling makes her our only bridge to Jo’s enigmatic personality. This perspective does not allow us intimate access to Jo, as our gaze on a person will always be fragmented, selective, and incomplete… And how fascinating is this imbalanced perspective imposed by Sallitt. There is no right or wrong in Fourteen, only lives in shock, perplexity, trial, exertion, powerlessness…Tallie Medel’s performance as Mara is touching, every gesture and look masterfully placed to appear charmingly simple…Fourteen suggests that cinema and humanity are equivalent in their limitations. The strength of the film comes from Sallitt’s awareness of this, from his mastery of temporal construction.” – Marco Fialho, Cinefialho (blog) (translated from the Portuguese)

Fourteen, premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, is a very satisfying discovery for those who enjoy American independent cinema… The visual language, which supports the dynamics of the film’s script, keeps Fourteen from being a simple young-adult film – it evokes the themes and visual forms we associate with American independent films, but transforms them with its intense but minimal narrative plan.” – Öykü Sofuoğlu (blog) (translated from the Turkish)

Fourteen by Dan Sallitt is a film that I managed to watch twice when I was in Berlin. A film that slowly drew me into its rhythm and storytelling about friendship and drifting away from it. It’s so well crafted, so much is expressed in small gestures and the passing of time which is wonderfully subtle.” – Hind Mezaina, The Culturist (blog)

“This ultra-independent director and critic and American cinephile manages to create another very heartfelt and sympathetic tale centered on two New York friends who have known each other throughout their lives but have different manners and personalities… The film…puts all its weight on its performances. The two actresses are extraordinary but one notes especially Norma Kuhling, whose role – the depressive and needy Jo – is the most demanding.” – Diego Lerer, Micropsia (translated from the Spanish)

“By eschewing almost all context and backstory, except for two dramatic peaks, (Fourteen) creates a space where the nature of this friendship, human and universal, can be savored, understood and mourned. The Delphi Palast, where the last screening took place, was full – all 800 seats taken – but you could hear a pin drop.” – Maria Elena de las Carreras (blog)

Fourteen is able to bring to a feature film the same kind of understatement, concern for authenticity, and attention to detail that is more often seen in documentary films shot over many years.” – Kris Rothstein, Geist

“Beautiful and absorbing.” – Vitamina Nerd (blog) (translated from the Portuguese)