Review: ‘The Last Supper’

Based on the award-winning Toronto play of the same name, "The Last Supper" is an important addition to the growing body of pix about AIDS-related issues, but this painfully realistic feature will be too grueling for most auds and may even be tough to handle for viewers close to the topic. It will, however, attract interest at fest and other specialized screenings.

Based on the award-winning Toronto play of the same name, “The Last Supper” is an important addition to the growing body of pix about AIDS-related issues, but this painfully realistic feature will be too grueling for most auds and may even be tough to handle for viewers close to the topic. It will, however, attract interest at fest and other specialized screenings.

Ultra-claustrophobic pic is shot entirely in one room, where dancer/choreographer Chris (Ken McDougall) lies on his sickbed awaiting death. Helmer Cynthia Roberts has shot film in real time, with minimal editing and no shortage of long, laborious silences. Chris has decided to end his life via a doctor-assisted suicide, and film covers his last moments with his lover, Val (Jack Nicholsen). They eat a final meal together and reminisce about happier times. Chris performs one last deathbed dance, and even the lethal injection is choreographed to music.

McDougall, a well-known Canadian theater and dance personality here recreating his stage role, died from AIDS-relatedcauses four days after shooting wrapped on “The Last Supper.” Shot on a shoestring budget, pic’s camerawork is deliberately shadowy and other tech credits are just as low-fi. Producer Greg Klymkiw was involvedin several key, recent indie Canuck features — notably “Careful” and “Tales from the Gimli Hospital”– but his latest production isn’t likely to win the same cult auds as those earlier pix.

The Last Supper

Canadian

Production

A Hryhory Yulyan Motion Pictures production, in association with DNA Theatre. (International sales: Hryhory Yulyan Motion Pictures Inc., Toronto.) Produced by Greg Klymkiw. Co-producers, Hillar Liitoja, Cynthia Roberts. Directed by Roberts. Screenplay, Liitoja, Klymkiw, Roberts, based on Liitoja's play.

Crew

Camera (color), Harald Bachmann; editors, Roberts, Su Rynard; music, Nicholas Stirling; sound, Phil Strong, Roberts. Reviewed at World Film Festival, Montreal, Aug. 28, 1994. (Also in Vancouver fest.) Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Chris - Ken McDougall
Val - Jack Nicholsen
Dr. Parthens - Daniel MacIvor
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