CANADIAN FILM FEST Rating: NNN
The Canadian Film Fest funnels the latest shorts and features from uninitiated homegrown artists into the Carlton next week, giving a new generation of filmmakers some practice in how to play to no audiences.
A few selections cater to the sadistic fans of American torture porn. James Wilkes’s mundane short Desmond Coy (Rating: N), a mistaken identity scenario, ends up in Eli Roth’s Hostel territory, while Leah Walker’s melodramatic feature The Third Eye (Rating: NN) investigates the underworld of trepanation (imagine a skull and a drill and then figure out the rest).
On the comic front, Deborah Marks and Steve Solomos’s feature Production Office (Rating: NNN) delivers insightful laughs. Making efficient use of a minor budget and industry experience, it exposes the hazards that befall those underappreciated office drones in the trenches of movie production.
Jane is called in for a long night of workplace debauchery after a screw-up on set places her neck on the guillotine. The marvellous Shauna MacDonald plays her as the kind of complicated person whose emotions flash from fury to melancholy every time the telephone rings.
Jamie Cussen’s short Rock Paper Scissors (Rating: NNNN) also delivers inspiring performances from its pint-sized cast. It’s the story of a trio of nine-year-old hicks in backwoods Florida who embark on a premature exploration of beer and sex. The film’s charming and sensitive depiction of the children’s sexual awakening boasts a maturity that we can only hope awakens a new audience for Canadian film.
The CFF (formerly the Canadian Filmmakers Festival) runs March 25 to 29, Tuesday at the Varsity, Wednesday to Saturday at the Carlton).