Friday, October 13, 2006

Movie Review - Mount Pleasant

The 25th Vancouver International Film Festival, held in Vancouver this year from September 28th to October 13, had numerous Canadian films (99% of which I could not see because of work commitments). But I did make time to see Mount Pleasant, for three main reasons:

a) The movie stars Kelly Rowan, one of my favourite actresses, who happens to be Canadian too. Kelly likes to support Canadian film, as shown in this interview with The Vancouver Sun. For those of you who don't know who she is, here is her Wikipedia biography.

b) The movie is set in Vancouver in my neighbourhood, Mount Pleasant.

c) It is perhaps the first movie I have seen where I can actually relate entirely to what is being depicted in the film.

d) It is directed by brilliant UBC alumnus Ross Weber, who also happens to live in the neighbourhood.

So, on to the movie review. A few other blogs have also published a review of the film, so I'll make my review more focused on why the film struck home with me. Beyond Robson, a very good local Vancouver blog published a really nice and thoughtful review, although I have to say that I did not hate every character. I felt sorry for Nadia and for Sarah. However, I did hate Megan.

The film is set in the neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant, in Vancouver (present day), and the lives of two families collide with those of a lost soul, leaving a big mess. Nadia, a young under-age prostitute who lives with her pimp Nick, and works the streets of Mount Pleasant, is picked up by Stephen, who is a real estate agent. He is in an unhappy marriage to Anne, and they live in (apparently, I can't recall properly) Kerrisdale (or Shaughnessy), one of the affluent neighbourhoods. Doug and Sarah (whose boss is Anne) have just moved into Mount Pleasant with their six year old daughter, who pricks herself with a used hypodermic needle. This single event triggers an outrage by Doug, who is upset at the poor conditions of the neighbourhood, including drug addiction, prostitution, etc.

The movie does a superb job of depicting the state of the neighbourhood, and the complicated and intricate relationships of these individuals. It is a superb movie, and it struck home with me. As an example, 'Nadia' was "picking up" at the bus stop on the corner of 19th Avenue and Fraser Street, where I often have taken the bus to go either to South Fraser or Downtown. Seeing the neighbourhood where one lives in a cinematic fashion is really eery. I had an opportunity to talk briefly with Camille Sullivan (Sarah) and Ross Weber, the director. The question/answer period after the October 11th showing at Granville Seven was really good.

I hope they release Mount Pleasant on video so that I can show it to my parents and friends. Kudos to Ross Weber and the cast of Mount Pleasant for a job well-done.

On the sociological and urban development side, the movie does depict reality but I am hopeful that the gentrification process will reach this area soon. It is not a bad neighbourhood, it just needs some cleaning up.


Clare said...

I agree with you that Kelly is an awesome actress. I recently saw her movie "Eight Days to Live" which was very good. Am looking forward to seeing Mount Pleasant.

Kerry said...

I have to agree with you that it was a great movie, and that it's pretty interesting to watch the Mt Pleasant neighbourhood as the backdrop. I didn't realise it was eery seeing it in cinematic form until you mentioned it... and it really does!
Kelly is one of my fave actresses as well, so it makes seeing this movie that much better :P

Who, out of the cast, attended the screening on Oct 11th? I went to the 1st showing on the 7th at The Ridge and everyone was there!!
It was a real treat to see Kelly :)