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Canada, 1996 (MIFF 1997, International)

Director: Lynne Stopkewich

Molly Parker gives an enigmatic perfor­mance as Sandra Larson, the central char­acter in this compelling tale of perverse eroticism set in an anonymous Canadian town. The fiim charts the progression of Sandra's childhood preoccupation with dead animals into a full-blown and thoroughly adult predilection for human corpses. Her idiosyncratic sexual pro­clivities are given full rein in her work as an apprentice embalmer in the local funeral parlour run by the creepy Mr. Wallis.

Sandra's developing friendship with medical student Matt (Peter Outerbridge) only confirms what she already suspects: sex with a living body is not a patch on the "glorious, overwhelming and thoroughly addictive" experience of sex linked with death. This black tale of erotic obses­sion has a strong undercurrent of equally black humour, with its wry slant on the rites and rituals of death. Early scenes of the geeky young San­dra recall last year's Festival favourite Welcome to the Dollhouse, while the cool visual style and insis­tent exploration of sexual identity are redolent of fellow Canadian, Atom Egoyan. Don't let the disconcerting necrophiliac premise of Kissed dis­courage you from sampling this visually stunning and thoroughly provocative first feature by award-winning director Lynne Stopkewich.

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