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Refrain (2009)

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'Refrain' is a dramatic narrative that follows the musical awakening of a young woman bound in an abusive relationship. Riya wrote songs in the middle of the night, in the bathroom, after ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Brad Carmichael ...
Ash
Jay Donaldson ...
Newsreader
Tyler Gibb ...
Sound Man
Vidya Lutchman ...
Riya
Rachelle Néron ...
Lin
Marc Schultz ...
Open Mic Host
...
Zeph
Vikki Wong ...
Deirdre
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Storyline

'Refrain' is a dramatic narrative that follows the musical awakening of a young woman bound in an abusive relationship. Riya wrote songs in the middle of the night, in the bathroom, after her nose had stopped bleeding and the swelling in her cheeks had gone down... After her husband, Ash, had finally passed out. She wrote songs that will never be heard by anyone but herself. This had been the sad refrain in Riya's life for many years. But what follows is the bridge to a new verse; a chance for Riya to bring her songs out of isolation and into the light. With the help of friends who mentor and protect her, Riya aspires to shed the bonds of her abusive relationship and head toward her dream of one day playing her music for other people. The crescendo to Riya's story deals in love, violence, retribution and hope. Written by Tyler Gibb

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Music is what fills the void.

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Drama

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August 2009 (Canada)  »

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2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A beautiful and sad story.
14 November 2009 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

The theme of women in abusive relationships has been absent from the mainstream film limelight, as if somehow Hollywood solved the problem years ago. It takes a no-budget independent from Montréal, writer/director Tyler Gibb, to revive the familiar story. In Refrain, the goal is not just to escape the cycle of violence, but also to break oneself free of the cycle of dependence, and to accomplish a personal change that can revitalize one's talents. The result is a film that far exceeds the limitations of its budgetary restraints.

Refrain is clearly an independent production: but from the washed out colours of its video quality rises a beautiful and sad story. Its title speaks to both the musical aspirations of its main character, but also the repetition in her own life - and how breaking this repetition may also break her aspirations: it's an unusual but unique choice that comes off as a more realistic portrayal of the longstanding effects of oppression. Do yourself a favour and give this one a chance. Refrain is one the finest English-language Montréal independent productions in recent years.


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