Thursday, July 15, 2010

'This Movie Is Broken'

Falling in love is easy when you doubling on a bike made for one

The film opens with a borrowed trick from the Scorsese school of rock-docs: Begin with the end. The camera pans across legions of bearded hipsters and sun-soaked girls of summer though the opening number. Watching Leslie Feist *swoon* and Emily Haines trade vocals... I get goose bumps.

Directed by Bruce McDonald (Hardcore Logo) and written by Don McKellar (Blindness), This Movie is Broken is half-concert film, half-romance story and all Canadian. It was created in a matter of weeks and I am so excited to see it in theaters:

Trailer for This Movie is Broken
I can't possibly put into words how I feel about this film so I am going to reprint an article I read on CBC News by the fantastic Lee Ferguson:

Review: This Movie Is Broken written by Lee Ferguson
Bruce McDonald crafts a love story set to the music of Broken Social Scene

Director Bruce McDonald is on a roll. First, he turned the zombie movie on its head with Pontypool, and now he’s bringing that same inventive spirit to This Movie Is Broken, his take on the traditional concert film.

Unfolding on one lazy, hazy July day in Toronto, This Movie Is Broken centres on a free outdoor gig in 2009 by indie supergroup Broken Social Scene. The concert footage on display is intimate and pure documentary, but McDonald has chosen to give the audience two movies in one, weaving in a fictional narrative amongst the band’s rousing live numbers

Scripted by Don McKellar — McDonald’s collaborator on the 1989 film Roadkill — the storyline for This Movie Is Broken proves to be gentle as a summer breeze, and every bit as romantic as a Broken Social Scene song. Twentysomething Bruno (Greg Calderone) wakes up in the morning and pinches himself to make sure he really did consummate his relationship with his longtime friend Caroline (a luminous Georgina Reilly ) the night before

The one hitch in this budding affair is that Caroline is heading to school in Paris the next day, leaving Bruno with 24 hours to make a lasting impression by staging the perfect date. Egged on by his savvy buddy Blake (Kerr Hewitt), Bruno promises to score backstage passes for Caroline’s favourite band (i.e. BSS) before the day is through.

This unique blend of concert footage and fictional drama bears a resemblance to Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs, where scenes of a young couple’s sexually charged relationship played out against a backdrop of vibrant performances at London’s famed Brixton Academy. But where Winterbottom’s movie oozed art-house pretension (and had zero emotion), This Movie Is Broken sneaks up on you, gradually growing more affecting. Like its characters, the film seems to merely drift along, which makes it a genuine surprise when a stirring moment arrives (like the passionate kiss that plays out to the sounds of Feist’s Past in Present ).

As the dramatic story builds, there is more than enough concert footage on offer to keep diehard Broken Social Scene fans bouncing in their seats. Shot at a live performance at Toronto’s Harbourfront, these scenes give viewers an all-access look at the band’s dynamic stage show. The camera zeroes in on band members at key moments, capturing frontman Kevin Drew’s tapping feet; Amy Millan glancing sideways at her cohorts before singing her next line; or a band mate leaning over to affectionately adjust drummer Justin Peroff’s glasses mid-show.

This Movie Is Broken is handsomely shot, and as with many of McDonald’s recent pictures, there’s a playful experimentation at work. The movie often feels like a collage, meandering away from its main narrative to savour random images – of Caroline’s feet peeking out from under a bathroom stall, the late-afternoon sunshine on a bike path or light tracing the surfaces of one character’s crinkly skin.

This may sound precious, but This Movie Is Broken never feels that way. McDonald’s artier flourishes are subtle and always serve a purpose – he’s using the images to give an impression of the characters and the music. In one terrific scene, Caroline walks through an underpass while the strains of the show can be heard in the background. As the glow of taillights and the fluorescence overhead moves across her face and dissolves into something abstract, it mirrors what’s happening back at the concert, where BSS’s instruments crash up against each other, colliding into a strange, beautiful cacophony

The movie’s stellar concert footage kicks off with Kevin Drew calling out to the adoring audience, “Toronto, we love you. Let’s hear you scream for yourselves!” — in fact, the entire movie feels like a rallying cry. This Movie Is Broken is an ode to the city that begat BSS, and some of its most loving cinematography is reserved for shots of Kensington Market patios, downtown bike paths and the overflowing trash bins that were a fixture in Hogtown during the garbage strike of 2009.

Some of this scenery is unbelievably hip, but then, so are the movie’s characters. One of the most interesting things in This Movie Is Broken is how attuned it is to the youthful subculture Bruno, Caroline and Blake inhabit. While it would have been easy to take shots at the characters’ carefully selected vintage clothing and perfectly groomed beards, McDonald and McKellar take the trickier route of giving these scenesters their due. They remember what it’s like to be in your twenties — when smoking joints, hearing bands and figuring out relationships are all matters of great urgency.

This warm, respectful tone is what ultimately unites the film. This Movie Is Broken is about Broken Social Scene, but it’s also about its fans. McDonald’s film is for them, and understands what they already know – that while relationships may come and go, the memory of a great gig will remain forever.

-Lee Ferguson writes about the arts for CBC News.

Everything A whole lot of everything that I love, all wrapped up in one little movie. So Excited.

The Official Article can be found HERE

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