Hot Docs review: Illusions Of Control

Shannon Walsh's film about five women dealing with personal and systemic crises is a testament to resilience


ILLUSIONS OF CONTROL (Shannon Walsh). 87 minutes. Rating: NNNN


With increasingly unnerving serenity, Vancouver director Shannon Walsh interweaves portraits of five women dealing with personal and systemic crises all over the world.

Kaori Suzuki monitors contamination in the produce, livestock and humans of Fukushima Silvia Ortiz searches for her daughter’s remains in the Mexican desert Stacey Sundberg contemplates moving from her home in Yellowknife before the arsenic buried in an abandoned mine leaches into the water table Xue Lan Yang deals with the increasing desertification around her village in China, and Chicago professor and author Lauren Berlant deals with a diagnosis of terminal cancer.

Each of these people is trying to cope with the consequences of someone else’s intrusion into their lives, and they’re all doing what they can to make the best of a hopeless situation: as Berlant says fairly early on, we only deem something unbearable when we’re in the midst of bearing it. Illusions Of Control is a testament to their resilience, even as it understands just how bad things really are.

April 28, 9:15 pm, TIFF 2 April 30, 2:30 pm, Scotiabank 3 May 2, 10 am, TIFF 3

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