Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Zip" by Tyler Banadyga

This weekend at the RPL Theatre, Tyler Banadyga's feature film "Zip" is playing to its first commercial audience. I previewed the film a couple of years ago and this to say in my regular blog:
Tyler certainly takes the notion of "rough around the edges" to its extreme with this loosely knit super-8 drama. The cast consists almost entirely of Tyler's friend and collaborator Jason Hipfner (and two short cameos including one by Tyler himself) as the film follows Jason as the title character on a road trip without destination around Saskatchewan while reading passages from novels. The camera work is usually shaky, giving the film a nervous and uncertain tone. Focus, when it occurs, seems unintentional. In that, I refer to both the working of the lens as well as the clarity of the character's motivation and the connections between the voice-over and the image on screen. The character/audience connection is further jeopardized by the consciously dispassionate readings of the texts. We are presented with a character that, even after two hours (less three minutes) of solo screen time, we do not know. It is a highly challenging film but one that offers some interesting rewards for the work a viewer is asked to put into it. A sequence near the beginning of a back-hoe tearing down a house was fascinating; I always see something alive in these machines as they destroy as well as caress the wood and brick. An image of the wasp trapped in a jar near the end of the film, a shortened version of the film Tyler made for last year's One Take Super-8 Event, is a poignant metaphor, perhaps of how we blind ourselves of the traps we are in and of the pointlessness of our lives in favour of simply continuing to move forward.

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