Future//Present – Mass for Shut-Ins (w/ There Lived the Colliers)
$12 General Admission
MASS FOR SHUT-INS
Twentysomething Kay Jay sleeps on his grandfather Loppers’ couch. The computer’s on the fritz and there’s not much of anything to do; there’s a lot of sitting around, eating 5-cent candies and drinking pop. Bored, Kay Jay plays with fire, aimlessly wanders through the night, encounters strangers and gets hassled by September, his aggro, delinquent brother. Chained to a life of co-dependency, he passively navigates his isolated existence—but you can see the desire to escape in his eyes.
Mass for Shut-Ins depicts a comatose environment in which the aging residents are dwindling away and the futures of the young are dimly lit at best. Director Winston DeGiobbi bends the mundane slightly towards the surreal, distilling the directionless state of his characters into poetry and poignantly articulating the essence of their milieu. Set in New Waterford, Cape Breton, where the poverty rate is among the worst in the country, Mass for Shut-Ins is a stark yet compassionate portrait of the underclass.
Screening with THERE LIVED THE COLLIERS by Nelson MacDonald
Thousands of wooden duplexes that once housed Nova Scotian miners now sit dilapidated and abandoned, testaments to the resilience of the working-class people who inhabited them.
“Mass For Shut-Ins is as much about a comatose state of masculine-geekdom as it is about industrial deracination and the economic collapse of post-coal Cape Breton; as much about the aesthetics of Weird Twitter and Vice photoshoots as it is the succor of low-rent hedonism: sleeping-in, drinking a litre of soda a day, watching movies until you pass out.
The tremendous achievement of Mass For Shut-Ins is that it supersedes comparison to American precedents. Depicting Canada’s white underclass, critical comparisons to the work of Harmony Korine could be made. But the surreal emotional landscapes of Gus Van Sant might be more appropriate. At a Q&A after Mass For Shut-Ins’ debut, director Winston DeGiobbi said he admires films which immerse themselves in the debauchery depicted, rather than assume an objective distance. Mass For Shut-Ins’ leering is informed by a empathy for the pitiful circumstances it depicts.”
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