Sunday, April 08, 2007

Yesterday, Larry and i watched "Whole New Thing"; a very Canadian film. In a way, it reminded me of "Kissed", the movie with Molly Parker in which she played a necrophiliac, that is, the subject matter may be potentially "explosive" but somehow the movie is very decorous. And the same thing happens in "Whole New Thing": the issue of the adolescent boy's crush on his (gay male) teacher is handled in a way which is inoffensive. It's not a bad film, but it's so curiously defanged. But the performance by Aaron Webber as the boy is extraordinary.

It's interesting that the film was produced by Camelia Freiberg. That's a name from the past. I remember when she was producing Srinivas Krishna's "Masala"; it might be a decade since i've seen her. In the press kit, it says she's now based in Nova Scotia, rather than Toronto.

Watching "Whole New Thing", i missed going to either Toronto or Montreal, because those film festivals always had a Canadian section, and it was interesting to see Canadian films, because the system of subsidies does have a real effect. A lot of the scripts get vetted, and so by the time a film is actually shot, the screenplay will have gone through several revisions, which helps to even out the script. But this "even-ing out" also removes the elements of the grotesque, the irrational, the freakish. And the energy of so many Canadian projects seems to be kept rather low.

It's amazing, because "Whole New Thing" should be shocking, or at least flirt with being shocking, and it's not. Even the father's fury over finding out about his wife's infidelity is handled almost politely.

But that's why Guy Maddin is such an anomaly. But then again, he'd be an anomaly anywhere. Coming up is "Brand Upon the Brain". I didn't see it when it played at the Walter Reade Theater, but i'm predisposed to liking it, since i enjoyed some of his last projects, such as "Cowards Bend the Knee" and "My Dad is 100 Years Old".


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