There's no shortage of music-based films at this year's film festival, including the documentaries American Hardcore, The U.S. Vs. John Lennon (both reviewed in this issue) and Kurt Cobain About A Son. Look for local musicians Sook-Yin Lee, Gentleman Reg and Lex Vaughn riding throughout Shortbus.
But getting some new attention is chanteuse Chantal Kreviazuk, who plays a woman with a mental disorder in Pretty Broken (Sunday, September 10, 11:45 am, Cumberland 3; Tuesday, September 12, 7:30 pm, Varsity 7), part of the Short Cuts Canada series. Confined to a psychiatric ward, Kreviazuk's unnamed patient rants and raves about medication and happiness, delivering canned insights like, "People are like flowers - if you break them they wither away and die."
Madness, like drunkenness, is difficult to pull off onscreen. Kreviazuk, handicapped by an untrained speaking voice, an unsubtle script and an inexperienced director, can't pull it off. She communicates more in the closing-credit song than she does in the entire film. Mercifully, she hasn't quit her day job - Kreviazuk makes up for the film with a musical performance as part of the One X One benefit gala at the Carlu Sunday (September 10).