The Bloody Mary Film Festival is enjoying its third year at the Imagine Cinemas Carlton in Toronto, celebrating the work of female and female-identifying Canadian genre filmmakers! Their Friday offering includes the feature film Darken (2017) by director Audrey Cummings at 7:00pm and a fabulous showcase of short films beginning at 9:00pm sharp!
Joe highlighted a few stand-out shorts from Thursday’s excellent program. Looking for a few good reasons to double your pleasure and indulge in Friday’s offerings as well? Look no further!
Girl in the Galactic Sun (2018)
Written and directed by Montreal-based filmmaker Heather Perluzzo, Girl in the Galactic Sun is a compelling, well-acted, and thought-provoking sci-fi short that explores themes of gender trauma and identity with a deft and confident hand and impressive production values. In a stark and clinical facility, a genderless species of aliens called the Gemini struggle to mutate chosen members of their kind into human women and men in order to reproduce. While the procedure to transform Gemini to human men has been successful, they have experienced some difficulty in perfecting the female metamorphosis.
When the empathetic Gemini 944 volunteers for the procedure, their strong will and desire to understand womanhood makes them appear to be a perfect candidate, but nothing could prepare them for the true nature of their new reality.
Girl in the Galactic Sun is powerful and political; a bold and unflinching rebuke to gendered violence and oppression. Definitely one of my favourites of the program.
Gorgeously shot and wonderfully acted, Morgana McKenzie’s lush period piece is set in 1937. Its protagonist is Ida, a quiet, young French-Canadian girl who staying with her uncle and older cousin on a remote farm. Lonesome and unappreciated, Ida discovers that someone–or, rather, something–is living in the expansive field of corn. Eager for connection, Ida seeks out the mysterious presence. But will it be her protector? Or her nightmare?
Wild stands out for its beautiful cinematography and costume design, as well as Nève Guénette’s excellent work as Ida.
In TiCk, a young girl is forced to fend for herself and avenge her family when attacked by the agents of an oppressive regime.
Brought to life by Toronto’s own Ashlea Wessel, TiCk is the talented photographer-filmmaker’s second short film. Her first, INK, was a gritty and visually-stunning punk-rock pregnancy horror. Her latest, an unconventional vampire tale that tackles the horrors of colonialism in a post-pandemic society, similarly displays her undeniable gift for striking mises-en-scène. A throbbing original score by Lukas Benoit pairs perfectly with the dark and moody visuals.
Glitter’s Wild Women (2018)
Glitter’s Wild Women is a bizarre, absurd, and ultimately delightful entry by North Vancouver filmmaker Roney. Infused with a wry, deadpan humour throughout, it tells the story of Hannah and Sophie, two sisters who live on eighty acres of farmland in Prince Edward County. Isolated from their neighbours, the two watch exploitation films and smoke the glitter that they harvest from a nearby forest (which gives them superhuman strength and deadens their ability to feel pain).
When they’re struck by the desire to host a film fest in their home, they’re stymied by the realization that the residents of the nearby town are fearful to set foot on their land. Apparently, young men have a tendency to go missing there…
Grace Glowicki and Cotey Pope play it perfectly straight when delivering the quietly hilarious dialogue. Glitter’s Wild Women looks amazing, and the slightly surreal feel is bolstered by Kelso Steinhoff’s pitch-perfect dreamy score. Baffling disappearances or not, I would 100% attend the sisters’ beleaguered film festival. Don’t miss this charming and original short.
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