This low-budget Canadian film played at the Art Gallery of Ontario on West Dundas – a venue I’d not been in before at this or any other TIFF. It was an edgy, psychological thriller, that kept twisting and turning and changing my perception of the central plot arc – “did he do it or didn’t he?
When the Director (Patrick Demers – his first feature after several shorts) told the audience after the screening that he had shot it in 16 days on a very small budget – and that it was largely improvised to boot – well, it was hard to believe. It really had an accomplished feel. The actors were very much involved in the process of where the plot led their characters. When one of the actors told the director during the shoot that his character was not really such a bad guy, the ending completely changed. But it was the improvisation that got me. From a working outline only 20 pages long, the ensemble tweaked and suggested alterations each day. You’d never know all this to see the finished product. There is not a scent of improv, which implies a certain looseness, as you watch.
A couple trying to save their relationship which is obviously foundering head off to a relative’s lakeside cottage. There they find the same problems confronting them as ever – Marianne’s flirtatiousness and Thomas’ jealousy. But here, there is lurking danger, not grasped at first, that may or may not bring them closer together.
Such a stylish film. And how many times can you make that claim about a low-budget indie ?
A word about the Q&A. The director, along with the man responsible for the unobtrusive but completely organic original music (Ramachandra Borcar) were there along with Marianne (Sophie Cadieux) and Thomas (Benoît Gouin). They generously gave of their time, such that I was almost late for my next screening. The director certainly loves what he does and the insightful and loquacious Sophie Cadieux, a Montreal native with a strong background in improv was a joy.
Such a pleasure to see an ensemble like this who come together in a common goal to create something for us of wonderment. This is what film festivals are all about. Likely this film will fade into oblivion, more’s the pity.