Foxhole. 2021. USA. Written and directed by Jack Fessenden. With James Le Gros, Andi Matichak, Alex Hurt. DCP. 95 min.
Situating an existential human drama in the most claustrophobic, terrifying, and monotonous of settings—a battlefield trench—has been an irresistible lure to filmmakers like Howard Hawks, Lewis Milestone, Samuel Fuller, Stanley Kubrick, and G. W. Pabst. Jack Fessenden’s ambitious contribution to this wartime genre achieves an almost abstract beauty as it spans 36 hours across three separate wars: the American Civil War, World War I, and the Gulf. Remarkably, Fessenden, who grew up watching his parents, Larry Fessenden and stop-motion animator Beck Underwood, make movies, and who began making movies of his own at age seven, wrote the script for Foxhole while still in high school, shot the film after his first year at Wesleyan, and cut and scored it while isolated in upstate New York during the pandemic. Courtesy Samuel Goldwyn Films