Secret film revealed

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Last week, K-W Counselling Services held a secret screening of a new, as of yet, unreleased film at Uptown Waterloo’s Princess Cinema. The film turned out to be Canadian darling Sarah Polley’s new movie Stories We Tell, which was a hit at TIFF last month.

Polley’s film focuses on the real-life tale of the director herself who, while in her teens, discovered that her mother had a secret affair that may have led directly to Polley’s own birth. Through the splicing of found home videos from her childhood, current interviews with her family (including her mother’s lover and her own father) and staged reenactments of her past, Polley tells her story and makes sure everyone else tells theirs along the way.

In this way, the term “documentary” can only be applied loosely. As much as it is a true life representation of Polley’s family with the interspersing of created memories gives the film a much more cinematic feel. Her directorial touch with the staged material really puts emphasis on the fictionalized feeling that these often-outrageous confessions tend to evoke over the course of the movie.

This is just one of the many undeniable flairs attributed to Polley as director. She handles the pace of the film with such grace that it never fails to be interesting, despite the “normal, Canadian family” angle inherent in the movie. K-W Counselling’s choice of movie could not have been more appropriate as the characters were easy to relate to.

The blending of stories in the film is really what makes it such a unique movie watching experience.             It begins by telling the tale of Polley’s mother and transitions into all of the different relationships she held with her husband, friends and children.

But by the end, Polley becomes the lead in the film, trying to seek out the truth not only about her own life, but also of those she is interviewing. As much as the movie is a comment on the story of her namesakes, it also develops a level of self-awareness through film.

The making of the documentary becomes just as vital to the film as the interview footage.

Polley has a very distinct talent as a storyteller and if early buzz is any indication, she should receive much more praise as the movie rolls into wider release in the coming months.

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