Monday, September 18, 2006


Saturday AM we [Janice, myself, Stephanie & Matthew (the later 2 are living with us: Stephanie is from California, doing a semester of 4th year math @ UofW; Matthew is working, earning money so he can go to college next year)] headed to Toronto.

Janice, Stephanie & I caught the screening of Sleeping Dogs then there was a Q & A period with the director: Terrance Odette and the 3 main actors: Brian Stillar [Mr Gloss, the main character (in photo above)], K. Alan Sapp & Jennifer Daniels. There's the link to the official film site.

My daughter, Nadine, was the Assistant Art Director on the film, as well as getting to nibble at a piece of cheesecake on screen.

Globe & Mail review.

Suite 101 review.

It's showing later this month @ the Vancouver Film Festival and then at the Princess Cinemas in Waterloo, something in October.

The story live is about a Mr. Gloss (Brian Stillar) who is diabetic, blind, cantankerous and a patient in an extended care hospital. When his brother Ed (Alan Sapp) informs him that he has taken his dog to the humane society to be euthanized, Gloss quietly dresses in a clean suit and walks out of the hospital, hoping to find and save his pet. Thomas (Tony Adah) arrives late to work at the hospital after receiving a message that his father has died. An attendant, he is sent off to find and return Gloss. As nobody has committed Gloss, the police cannot return him even when he locks himself in a public washroom. It is left to Thomas to stay with him until he agrees to come back. As the relationship between Gloss and Thomas develops on their journey, it turns out to be oddly redemptive for both of them.

The film is slow moving, but tracks well as it reflects on family and individual responsibility. I am known for not liking country & western songs, but here the sound track of classic songs works.

I thought Brian Stillar gave a powerful and engrossing performance as the AWOL blind patient railing against the world of heartbreak he finds himself in.

Some won't like the language, there is plenty use of f..., but it's still a good film.

Here's the blurb from the TIFF site:
Producer: Vanessa Shrimpton, Terrance Odette
Screenplay: Terrance Odette
Cinematographer: Dennis Delguime
Editor: Terrance Odette
Production Designer: Joyce Domingo
Sound: Scott Aitken
Music: Neil Clark
Principal Cast: Brian Stillar, Tony Adah, Jennifer Daniels, Alan Sapp

Like his idol, Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami, Terrance Odette has a well-developed taste for ramshackle quests, seamless narratives and a profound sympathy for the marginalized and powerless. Also like Kiarostami, Odette owes a debt to the Italian neo-realists, particularly in terms of their skill at transforming melodrama into convincing and emotionally affecting humanism.

In Sleeping Dogs, his latest feature, Odette focuses on two characters. Jarrod (Brian Stillar) is an obscenity-spouting, middleaged alcoholic who is hospitalized after diabetes blinds him. Desperate for a drink and determined to see his ailing dog one last time, he stumbles out of his ward and heads towards Kitchener-Waterloo's sleepy downtown. In hot pursuit is Thomas (Tony Adah), a hospital orderly plagued by tragedies of his own. As they wander the streets, get abandoned on the highway, and cause scenes in roadside restaurants and on suburban streets, the two men come to a tenuous understanding.

An examination of our inability and refusal to relate to or even acknowledge one another, Sleeping Dogs is notable for its meandering, casual lyricism, which suits its principals perfectly. The story flows organically, with little consideration for the plot mechanisms of conventional commercial cinema. The tiniest acts of understanding are magnified, while seemingly minor transgressions become devastating, largely because of the characters' refusal or inability to connect.

The film is driven by an extraordinary performance by Stillar as Jarrod, who makes this bitter and ornery man an even greater object of empathy by refusing to sentimentalize him. Odette's exquisitely sensitive direction, meanwhile, seems all the more powerful for keeping everything on such a small, intimate scale. (The film also boasts an amazing soundtrack of vintage country-and-western songs.) Sleeping Dogs is an unpretentious, fully realized and devastatingly familiar slice of life.
- Steve Gravestock

Terrance Odette has directed more than one hundred music videos and documentary shorts. His first feature, Heater (99), screened at film festivals around the world. His second feature, Saint Monica (02), played at the Festival in 2002. Most recently, he edited Ron Mann's Tales of the Rat Fink (06), a documentary about hot rod legend Al "Big Daddy" Roth, appearing in the Festival's Real to Reel programme this year. Sleeping Dogs (06) is his latest film.

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