Aquasi-experimental bore, "Kanada" mixes lesbian drama and political satire to no discernible point. Southern-exposure potential is such that creator Mike Hoolboom might have better luck shopping pic northward, i.e., around the Arctic Circle.

Aquasi-experimental bore, “Kanada” mixes lesbian drama and political satire to no discernible point. Southern-exposure potential is such that creator Mike Hoolboom might have better luck shopping pic northward, i.e., around the Arctic Circle.

Setting is a fantasy near-future in which national bankruptcy, global wars and militant Quebec separatism have turned Canada to chaos. A TV newscaster (Hoolboom in death’s-head mask) reports absurdist developments while former hockey star Wayne Gretzky, posited as new prime minister, tries to hold the nation together. Intercut are scenes with two chic 30-ish women — prostitute and writer, respectively — as they banter and quarrel through a love affair that ends violently. Additional segs feature enigmatic figure in bridal garb running through desolate urban landscapes.

Struggling for Godardian impudence, none of these elements connect or comment upon one another; they’re not so hot on their own, either. Best factor is some amusingly bratty dialogue for the two female lovers (well-played by Babs Chula and Gabrielle Rose), though the pretentiousness and dim scatological humor rampant elsewhere often intrude here as well. Satire of Canuck politics waxes sophomoric at best, unhelped by decision to backdrop those parts with irrelevant “Caligari”-style abstract “sets.”

Latter segs are b&w; those featuring the two women, in color. Characters spend most of running time addressing camera directly in close-up. Overexposed images throughout seem intended to artily camouflage micro-budget, yet only exacerbate tedium. Pic’s infrequent coherent messages run no deeper than “TV makes us stupid” or pat lovers-vs.-warmongers gender stereotyping (“Life gives women a purpose; death gives men one,” intones the prime minister’s assistant).

Best line is a (probably borrowed) joke:”You know why they call television ‘the medium’? Because it’s neither rare nor well-done.””Kanada” provides unneeded further proof that film projects can be half-cooked as well.

Kanada

(CANADIAN -- 16m)

Production

A Mike Hoolboom production, produced with the assistance of Canada Council, National Film Board of Canada and Ontario Arts Council. Produced, directed, written, edited by Hoolboom.

Crew

Camera (color/b&w), Steve Sanguedolce; original music and sound design, Earle Peach; set design, Kika Thorne; sound recording, Ann Marie Fleming, Gary Popovich. Reviewed at San Francisco Intl. Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, June 12, 1994. Running time: 65 MIN.

With

Charlie ... Babs Chula Prime Minister's #Assistant ... Sky Gilbert The Newscaster ... Mike Hoolboom The Prime Minister ... Andrew Scorer The Bride ... Kika Thorne Bobbie ...Gabrielle Rose
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