Kamloops Film Festival in review: It’s Only the End of the World

Each year, The Omega reviews the films presented at the Kamloops Film Festival. The festival came to a close on March 11.

The latest film from Cannes favourite Xavier Dolan is a family drama with a fantastic cast and a quiet epic-ness that elevates its fairly mundane story. Following Louis (Gaspard Ulliel) after he is given only a short amount of time left to live, he travels back home after a 12-year absence where he must try and find a way to tell them of his condition: what comes is an examination of family and guilt within the confines of one afternoon dinner.

Coming off of his dazzling film Mommy, Dolan and cinematographer André Turpin craft an intimate and claustrophobic experience that creates a truly filmic experience from the play it is based on. Taking place mainly in the house of the matriarch, the extreme close-ups and detail provided in each of the expressive performances create a truly unique experience that, coupled with the dizzying editing, is truly improved by transferring the story to the film medium.

The performances all demand attention from the amazing cast that has the likes of Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux and Nathalie Baye who all have their shot to really show how well they can act. For the majority of the film that is what we get, very experienced actors doing as much acting as they possibly can as the film rarely delves into anything other than the immediate family interaction happening in front of the camera. While it does make for a lean experience, the few instances where the script and camera open up to reveal an outer factor on the characters provide the best and most interesting moments for the audience to soak up. While always presenting itself in an absorbing and almost fantastical way, the film itself is, unfortunately, shorthanded by its inconsequential script and extremely pinpointed trajectory.