Skip to main content

TIFF review PORCUPINE LAKE



2017
Directed by: Ingrid Veninger
Starring: Charlotte Salisbury and Lucinda Armstrong Hall

PORCUPINE LAKE opens on Bea (Salisbury) as she rests in the back of her parent’s station wagon, peacefully unaware of the quiet tension that fills the front half of the vehicle. The juxtaposition of a picturesque countryside and her parent’s uncomfortable silence evokes a strange feeling of melancholy while staring through the lens of something utterly beautiful. The family is traveling across a Norman Rockwell like landscape to take over a restaurant bequeathed from Bea’s grandfather.

The “Snack Shack”, situated in Port Severn Ontario, represents a missed opportunity for this struggling young family to start over. Scotty sees this as a chance to fix up the place and make a go of it, while Ally is only interested in selling. Ally and Scotty, absorbed with their own problems and mounting tensions from the restaurant leave Bea mostly to her own devices.

One morning, while Bea is enjoying some of the Shacks breakfast offerings she sees Kate (Hall). A young girl with curly hair and a unique sense of style. Bea, immediately drawn to Kate, follows her from a distance when she leaves the restaurant. The two girls come from different backgrounds and have wildly different personalities but after a few brief encounters, they become fast friends. The innocence of first love and navigating the waters of how to handle newly found independence; Bea is in the midst of a transformation.

Films about first loves are commonplace, but few capture the awkward innocence of adolescence as well as PORCUPINE LAKE. The first kiss between Kate and Bea, one of the more honest moments in any film this year, perfectly encapsulates the capricious nature of change. How we seldom take time to acknowledge the big moments, allowing them to pass by without missing a beat.


Veninger delivers PORCUPINE LAKE with the breezy carefree pacing of a small town summer, taking the time to dwell on smaller moments. She explores the humanity or her characters by showing them move through their lives. Building each character so methodically allows her the freedom to avoid telegraphing every emotional arc. It’s easy to project yourself into this film. I cannot imagine a person who will not see some version of themselves on screen. Veninger builds her film on a foundation of trust where ambiguity is a tool for bringing in the audience as opposed to distancing them.  


PORCUPINE LAKE will be having its world premiere at TIFF 2017. For more information and showtimes click here.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

THE True Bromance Film Podcast - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Episode 208 - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

We like to keep up with the latest and greatest in the film universe so for this episode we're dialing up Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. In a world where superhero films saturate the market, can an animated feature distinguish itself from the pack?

MOVIES DISCUSSED THIS WEEK:

A Fistful of Dollars, The Favourite, Skyscraper, The Meg, RBG, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Searching, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse


LAFF review A CROOKED SOMEBODY

2107
Directed By: Trevor White
Starring: Rich Sommer, Clifton Collins Jr., Joanne Froggatt, Amanda Crew, Ed Harris
Producers: Jason Potash, Paul Finkel, Tim White, Wayne L. Rogers Sales: CAA
Ambition is a powerful drug that can inspire positive change. It can force you outside of the comfortable boxes you place yourself in. It asks you to stretch and reimagine not only the person you are but the person you could be. Most great men and women have a deep relationship with what they see as their purpose. This is a personality trait never driven by or limited to the pragmatic and there in lies the problem. Logic be damned, when a sense of determination is your north star. 
Michael Vaughn (Sommer) is an ambitious psychic on the road promoting a book that no one is buying. Using parlor tricks and audience plants Vaughn helps people "connect" with loved ones who have passed on. Somewhere in between a traveling preacher and a low-rent John Edwards he sees himself as a man destined …

SONG OF SOLOMON Review

Exorcism films do not begin and end with William Friedkin's THE EXORCIST. With entries as varied as BEETLEJUICE, CONSTANTINE, and THE RITE, the exorcism sub-genre of horror films is far more diverse than many immediately recognize.  

With THE SONG OF SOLOMON director Stephen Brio has added a unique take on the possession movie. In his film, the Catholic church attempts to save the soul of Mary (Jessica Cameron) who appears to have been possessed after witnessing her father's brutal suicide.

Mary is off camera while her father takes his own life. In a scene that could play as a confessional or an accusation, the family's patriarch lists off the reasons why he is being forced to use his knife on Mary and himself. He details how they were a good, loving family and he can't understand why she is accusing him of abuse. Using demonic control as a metaphor for trauma survival is something so natural, I can't believe it's not woven into every film of this kind.

Jessic…