BITS 2018: Level 16

A group of teenage girls begin to learn the dark secrets of their boarding school in Level 16. Since a young age the girls of The Vestalis Academy are taught by their headmistress Miss Brixil (Sara Canning) and Dr. Dr. Miro (Peter Outerbridge) to live by the seven virtues of femininity, so they will be adopted by a good family when they graduate. Vivien (Katie Douglas) has just entered the final year on Level 16, along with fellow girls Ava (Alexis Whelan) and Rita (Amalia Williamson). On Level 16, Vivien is reunited with her former friend Sophia (Celina Martin), who helps to enlighten Vivien about the true nature Vestalis.

Level 16 is a dystopian science fiction story from writer/director Danishka Esterhazy (H & G). Featuring a story that can easily compared to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s TaleLevel 16 takes place at a prison-like boarding school, where the girls must display virtues such as obedience and cleanliness, or else they will be taken downstairs and punished. Having been punished once before, Vivien gives the outward appearance of following the rules, however she is greatly struggling, which worsens when she begins to find out what the true nature of The Vestalis Academy is.

Level 16 is a film that is both very bleak, yet also quite outstanding. The plot of the film is told almost entirely from the perspective of Vivien and Danishka Esterhazy structures the film, so we learn more details about the true nature of this boarding school at the same time that Vivien does. It can be said that Level 16 is a very feminist story, as it is ultimately about these girls fighting against a predefined societal norm and becoming their own independent people. This is definitely a must watch film in the age of #MeToo.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).