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Canada, 1997 (MIFF 1998, International Panorama)

Director: Thom Fitzgerald

On his sister's wedding day, Sweet William returns to his rural Nova Scotian home after a ten year absence. He left as an obese, unhappy and closeted teenager; now he's a thin attractive and openly gay man. His family, however, are as troubled as ever. Encrusted with generations of family secrets and unresolved upsets, this darkly comic tale bristles with intrigue and complex personalities. Throughout the day, William is plagued by memories which take him back to the painful hanging garden where he must make peace with his past in order to carry on with his life.

Thom Fitzgerald's debut feature, one of the most popular Canadian films of the past year, is as energetic as it is quirky. More than just idiosyncratic in style, Fitzgerald has played with cinematic devices of character and structure, naming each character after plants and flowers, and framing their scenes in suiting colours. Backed by a star-studded score, rich black humour and stunning photography, The Hanging Garden easily stands out trom the indie-film pack.

"The structuralist elements, from the rigid use of colour and line to the pervasive flower metaphor, suggest that even the most ordinary lives operate on a poetic level. Depending on how you look al it, these characters live in the past, present and future simultaneously. I think we all do." - Thorn Fitzgerald

Thom Fitzgerald is a guest of the Festival.

Thom Fitzgerals was raised in New York before moving to Halifax to study at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He has worked in film, video and live performance, and is a key figure in the Halifax art scene. The Hanging Garden, Fitzgerald's first feature film, received the Audience Award and Best Canadian Feature at the 1997 Toronto International Film Festival and four major prizes at the 1997 Genie Awards.

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