Dawn is a period piece (1961) that—despite its short format—sears, positioning McGowan as a potential earthmover behind the camera, in the increasingly droll American film scene. McGowan’s turn at the camera results in a gauzy, tummy-stirring piece that harkens Flannery O’Connor’s iconic short story, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, with similarly bewitching restraint and seraphic imbue. But that’s merely a referential pivot point, not the film’s winning gravitas.
Dawn tells the tale of an adolescent girl lured into a sexually explorative—albeit dark—moment in time, the long-term scars and marks that go unseen on those involved. As well, there’s tenderness, and shameless play, and an ending we won’t spill here, but somehow fitting for the director. What’s winning about the 19-minute piece is that its tonality and directional maturity depict much of what makes Rose McGowan a person now—despite, or perhaps because of—lives lived and led.
Read more about the actor/director in last year's Nine Lives Issue.