Petrol. 2022. Australia. Directed by Alena Lodkina. North American Premiere. In English and Russian; English subtitles. 96 min.
In the mesmeric follow-up to her debut, Strange Colours, Russian-born, Melbourne-raised filmmaker Alena Lodkina casts an enigmatic spell of a movie centered around a film student named Eva (Nathalie Morris) and her fragmenting interior world. While working on a deeply personal school project connected to her Russian heritage, Eva meets the mercurial Mia (Hannah Lynch), a performance artist who runs hot and cold, and with whom she develops a close bond bordering on obsession. As Eva is drawn into Mia’s orbit, she comes increasingly to question her sense of reality, while at the same time making decisions about her own romantic, creative, and professional lives. Alternately whimsical and unsettling, Petrol is an entirely original vision, a film of moods as fluctuating as the weather, and a magical coming-of-age story that is also perhaps the tale of a haunting.