Telegrams from the New Canadian Cinema
nytheatre.com review by Martin Denton
February 27, 2008
Talk about interdisciplinary: my first show at the second annual FRIGID [theatre] Festival was a program of new films from Canada!
Telegrams from the New Canadian Cinema comes to FRIGID from our neighbors to the north, bringing two programs of short new movies (with a small live theatrical component) to the stage of the Kraine Theatre. What I found most edifying is how closely the indie filmmaking aesthetic—something I confess to knowing not much about—seems to mirror the world of indie theater-making. Case in point: the main item on the bill of Program 1, a film by Alexander Carson called Lucy James Part 1, features—as actors, designers, what-have-you—five of the other filmmakers whose works are showcased here.
Lucy James Part 1, a 42-minute film preceded by a tantalizing bit of narration delivered by Carson himself, takes place at a wedding reception, where an unusual game of hide-and-seek is played by many of the guests (plus the bride and groom themselves) in the ballrooms, hallways, and anterooms of a Canadian inn. It's more about character and attitude than narrative, and Carson and his cast create an array of intriguing twentysomethings who all seem to have something more somber and lonesome lurking beneath their surfaces than their carefree shenanigans portend.
Lucy is preceded by a very strange, very short movie by Dan Popa called Coconut Radio, set (I think) in a swimming pool. It is followed by Royce Vavrek's short Pig & Bear, which is a parody of porn that would feel funnier, I suspect, if everybody in the audience were rowdy and in college and a little drunk (it's actually quite apt, with its soundtracklessness making it feel both subversive and seedy at the same time). The final piece in Program 1 is Eduardo Menz's fascinating Mechanism/Organism, which features lots of startling images based (the playbill tells us) on the work of Edward Muybridge. I can't say that I understood this film, but I appreciated it a lot.
Program 2 features three entirely different works by Adam Beck, Nicholas Martin, and Kyle Thomas.
Telegrams from the New Canadian Cinema is not what we expect to see in a theatre festival, which automatically makes it ideal for FRIGID's adventurous aesthetic. I know that I enjoyed spending some of my time at the theatre last night watching films!