So happy that I could take in the Kingston Canadian Film Festival last weekend – ten minutes from where I live. What a treat. I saw six movies in 36 hours. My butt is sore and my eyes are burning but it was an interesting weekend. Something good about every one of them.
How to sum this one up? A crazy road trip with a 15 year old dope smoking teenage girl who is going blind and her card-shark gambling father from Winnipeg to Churchill, Manitoba with a stop in Flin Flon as they try to escape a couple of goons that the dad owes $100,000 and make a trek to see the Northern Lights. When I write this down it sounds pretty weird but it works, thanks to great screenwriting and acting by the two main characters as played by Josh Chernick and a very talented young Joey King. It sounds like this film will be in theatres soon and although there is nothing earth shattering about it, it is a good Canadian story that will not disappoint. I talked to someone else after the movie who said “It all felt natural.” Eh?
I didn’t know much about this film when I decided to catch it on Sunday morning. It fit my schedule. It went right over my head that it might be about that “closet”. And really it wasn’t just that. I also am reluctant to call it a “coming of age” film as that just seems so trite. The film took us into the world of a young man struggling with separated parents, education choices, sexual discover, adolescent friendships and homophobia without making any one of those the only challenge. I must admit that there were a couple of scenes where the acting, editing and escalating throbbing music put my pulse up and almost made me feel frantic. I have never been so driven by the sound in a movie before.
Like the others, it is a Canadian made movie with Canadian talent. It was shot almost entirely in Newfoundland (without any Newfie accents). Lots of closet analogies and symbolism on many fronts. Great natural acting, direction and a credible screenplay. It won the best Canadian Feature Film award at TIFF in 2015. The kid in the movie, when asked “Do you feel anything?” honestly replies “I don’t know”. This kind of sums up the chore of maturing when you are 18. Maybe that job never ends.
Films I think you should definitely try to catch are Closet Monster, Into the Forest and Borealis. Now where to catch them is the problem. They are not Hollywood blockbusters and I wonder where they will turn up. It is really too bad that the movie house market is so dominated by the big name, big budget films. Look for these Canadian-made gems and support them.