Reviews

Paris, France

Geist Staff

The current film festival season features two movies written by Geist correspondents Tom Walmsley and Peg Thompson. Walmsley's film is called Paris, France. We can't tell you about it first-hand, as it hasn't come to Vancouver yet, but last week a Globe and Mail critic described it as "explicit" in a single-sentence mention. If you know Walmsley's fiction and plays, you'll know what that might mean. Peg Thompson's movie we have seen: it's called The Lotus-Eaters, and it's set in the sixties on one of the Gulf Islands of BC, in the fall of the year the Beatles came to Vancouver. The central character is a twelve-year-old girl whose father is the school principal, and the central event is the arrival of a new teacher at the school. These are the bare bones of the story, innocuous on the face of it, but wonderfully enfleshed in the execution. Here we feel fiction pressing on biography, in the story of a young girl learning what it means to intervene in the larger world, a story so convincing that you are forced to ask of its makers: how true is it? This movie takes the kinds of risks that The Company of Strangers does, and it too succeeds. The story is allowed to leak out at the edges whenever it needs to, and in this way is more like a novel than most Hollywood movies, which so often resemble poorly constructed short stories. There are no literary airs to The Lotus-Eaters, though (despite the Tennysonian pun in its title): all of its elements are immediate and seem wonderfully to be lived; everything resonates. This is a film that reminds us that life is thick, textured—and, yes, magic.

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