Friday, November 2, 2007

Tyler Banadyga's "Toast"

On November 1, the seventh annual One Take Super-8 Event took place in its city of origin, Regina. Hosted by festival originator Alex Rogalski, the event was sold out with most of the 24 featured filmmakers attending. While these super-8 films, shown that night for the first time anywhere, including to their own makers, were eclectic, three about fatherhood stood out for me. One was my own, the other two were by newer fathers Shawn Fulton and Tyler Banadyga. Each of these three films featured the obsession between filmmaker/father/son.

Tyler Banadyga's film "Toast" was a beautiful incite into a child's personality. The simplicity of the film, a single uninterrupted static shot, only enhanced the engaging nature of his face. The film is reminiscent of Andy Warhol's "Eat" in which Robert Indiana consumes a single mushroom over the course of 39 minutes. While Banadyga tells me that he is unfamiliar with this Warhol film, they seem to have landed close to the same place. As this one year old boy, Banadyga's son, sits in a high chair gnawing on a piece of toast, we feel we are in a privileged position, sharing his seat. As he looks out at the camera and at the room around him, we feel we are looking at that space and seeing it through his innocent eyes. Yet there is not just innocence, there is something sly in his expression, and something fragile, and something strong, something wise, something new, and something of his father, all looking back at us. While there is no large actions, no emotional soundtrack, and no second person present to create narrative/action/activity/conflict, we are never bored. This film had the rare affect of simply making me feel happy.

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