After a one night stand, a young woman (Maya) awakes to find she is alone in a luxurious house. There is no sign of her boyfriend from the night before, but she starts enjoying the luxury ... See full summary »
Melanie J. Scheiner,
Jennifer Hardy CK
Thirteen-year-old Jesse wants to be an artist, but believes that his mundane middle-class Toronto life has left him unprepared. After reading a book on what it takes to be a "true-artist", ... See full summary »
Gabriel del Castillo Mullally,
The script called for freezing temperatures and a good deal of snow, but a week into production the filmmakers realized a heat wave was on the horizon. Spring arrived early and the shooting schedule had to be drastically altered to accommodate the melting snow and thawing lake. It was so unseasonably warm by the end of principal photography, that many of the crew took a polar bear dip in the half-frozen lake before leaving the main location. See more »
What's most remarkable about this film is that it was made at all, let alone in Canada at the current time, when the available sources of funding are both risk- and art-averse, and tend to ruin potentially good concepts with their forced 'creative' input (too many cooks, etc.
especially when those 'cooks' are businesspeople with no real
understanding of film). If only more young people, upon graduating from film school, would do what the production team behind this did: collaborate to make something without having to rely on the 'official' sources of funding, and without worrying about whether it would be 'commercial', etc.
As for the film itself: it's far from perfect, but overall it's quite good at what it's trying to do - while not quite there, it's at least trying to do something more along the lines of Tarr, Kiarostami, Akerman and the like rather than taking its cues from American films (whether Hollywood or the 'mumblecore' indies). The acting (by a non-professional, who does a far better job than most 'professional' Canadian actors these days would!) is very good and nicely demonstrates the point about film acting being mostly a matter of re-acting. The use of the camera is probably the film's strongest point - while there are some conventionally 'pretty' shots, there are also quite a few images that are formally striking and effective without being 'beautiful'. The editing is minimal and non-intrusive, and always seems to suit what's being shown; the sound editing, while excellent in some scenes, goes over-the-top or becomes on-the-nose in others - especially in regards to a couple of musical choices that break the otherwise strong mood created by image, editing and non-musical sounds and which just plain don't fit. Furthermore, the plot, which could so easily have fallen into cliché 'Can-lit' territory (and surely would have under the influence of the aforementioned funding agencies!) manages not to, and so becomes a solid addition to the 'canon' of works featuring this Canadian literary trope (isolation in the snowy wilderness) rather than a rip-off or unintentional parody of them.
Given the dire state of Canadian distribution for Canadian-made films, who knows if this will still be playing at the TIFF Lightbox by the time anyone reads this, or whether it will become available on DVD or some format after its theatrical run.
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