Thursday, 12 February 2015

Encountering Mommy

All has been silent on the Borderlines blog for too long.

We kick the coverage of Borderlines 2015 with a peek at one of the eighteen previews, the Canadian film Mommy,  to feature at this, the 13th edition of the festival from one of our colleagues who has chosen to remain nameless.
25-year old Canadian director Xavier Dolan has been noisily making a name for himself in the international film scene since the release of his 2009 debut I Killed My Mother and his latest work, Mommy, is arguably his best yet.

At times, it is unflinching and difficult to watch. Other moments are incredibly moving and even heartbreaking. At its core, the film is a study of a 15 year-old with ADHD called Steve (Antoine Olivier Pilon), and his relationships with the two main women in his life: his mother Diana “Die” Despres (Anne Dorval) and their neighbour Kyla (Suzanne Clement).

Set in a near-future, the film opens with the revelation that a law has recently been passed in Quebec that allows parents to bypass the traditional court systems and put problem children into state care.
This ultimately poses a moral dilemma for Die, whose son is, at times, erratic, unpredictable, violent and difficult to control. But Steve is a fully rounded character: despite the issues caused by his ADHD, he is also shown to be charming, thoughtful, energetic, spontaneous and funny. Mommy explores this and cleverly works towards a dramatic climax that makes Die’s choice all the more moving.

The film also shows Dolan at his creative best. Shot in a 1:1 aspect ratio, Mommy recalls Instagram or Polaroid photographs. This square frame draws the viewer’s attention the character on screen, providing an intimate portrait of them.

The movie also cleverly plays with music and fashion from the last two-decades to create a vaguely nostalgic and often humorous mood, effortlessly flitting from Dido to Celine Dion; Oasis to Beck; and Lana Del Rey to Andrea Bocelli.

I saw Mommy during the ICO’s preview weekend in New Brighton and, for me, it was the standout film. It’s therefore fantastic to see that Borderlines Film Festival have managed to arrange a special preview of this picture.

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