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Shorts and Suspense 

Short notice on Atlantic shorts, good directors make Good Neighbours

This probably comes too late for anyone planning out their Saturday at AFF, but I thought it was worth chipping in a word for the Atlantic Shorts 1 program, on at 2PM at Park Lane today. Out of Trip, Being Parkour, The Chewing Gum Man, GAWAB and Winter Wave Riders, I'm most interested in the last two (although the fun part about these things is that the films you have no expectations about often end up being the most enjoyable).

Why GAWAB and Winter Wave Riders? In the first case, I'm interested to see if Tarek Abouamin has made any adjustments to his short-film "letter" to his Egyptian family since it screened at the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival in April. Also curious to see how another, perhaps broader, audience responds to its intimacy.

As for Winter Wave Riders, it's a preview of the upcoming Canadian Surf Film Festival, and I'm hoping to catch its director at a CSFF launch party later this afternoon. And, on a more personal note, I'm interested because I'm braving the waters of Lawrencetown next week for my first surf lesson and need all the inspiration/terror I can get.

As for tomorrow's lineup, it's a good one. As I expressed in this week's paper, A Screaming Man is definitely worth a look. But I also highly recommend that people check out Jacob Tierney's Good Neighbours, which screens at 7PM tomorrow night at Park Lane.

Tierney made The Trotsky with Jay Baruchel, who co-stars in Good Neighbours with Scott Speedman and Emily Hampshire. But the two movies could not be more different. As Tierney told me back when Trotsky came out, that film's lighthearted, comedic tone wasn't really representative of who he was as a filmmaker. He's more attracted to darker themes, and that shows in Good Neighbours, which explores the uneasy relationship between Baruchel's, Speedman's and Hampshire's characters. They share common space - a Montreal apartment complex - as well as various levels of connection to a spate of murder-rapes and the Quebec referendum (the movie's set in 1995).

I was surprised by how much I liked this film, especially as it really got going in the second half. There's all sorts of thematic stuff - the referendum in the background highlights the issue of how different people struggle to co-exist in close quarters - but mostly it's just an effective thriller. It's very Canadian, but at the same time the kind of movie that you probably don't have to be Canadian to enjoy.


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