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THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO MY DEATH

Canada, 1991 (MIFF 1992)

Director: Bill Robertson

Uh-oh. Angus can't communicate with Julia, his gorgeous, strapping girlfriend His dad, the wheedling Dr Jack Snack, is keep­ing more secrets than he should. Mom's sud­den re-upholstery project has thrown the family into chaos. The dog died. And worse, nobody can dance. There's a crisis in suburbia, but thats why we have people like Rita, the dance instructor.

Bill Robertson's feature film debut is a fresh, wonderfully odd film. Featuring a bril­liantly off-kilter script and a remarkable liberty with language, it makes an emotionally dys­functional family the centre of an original com­edy Audiences may be reminded of Hal Hartley's The Unbelievable Truth and Trust, but if Robertson's dialogue comes out of the same left field, his vision is even more surreal. This is a world of obsessive golf, commitment to lawn furniture, and late-night donut shops As the Snack family's cardhouse of private obses­sions collapses, and after Julia knocks Angus unconscious, the only solution is to dance this mess around.

Robertson's cast rises to the spirit of free play the script sets out for them. The revelation here is Canadian avant-pop singer Mary Mar­garet O'Hara, whose performance as Rita is the sum of perfect, quirky moments. O'Hara also contributed to the film's soundtrack,,and her unique rhythms propel the film. In the past few years a series of rock video inspired movies have employed a formulaic weirdness and almost made quirky a bad word. The com­bination of inspired script, remarkable perfor­mances, and killer soundtrack, rises above all that This is magic realism from white subur­bia This is a truly original film.

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