Cinema Scope

Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

ith his first two features, (2012) and (2015), Toronto-based director and MDFF co-founder Kazik Radwanski established something of a recurring archetype: sad, lonely, and horny men whose unpleasant or uninteresting qualities are accentuated by the director’s unrelenting approach of shooting almost entirely in medium close-ups. The prospect of spending an hour and a half with people lacking in notable virtue, alluring vice, or any apparent interest, may seem like an unproductive exercise in forced empathy—but consider this skepticism a function, as opposed to a fault, of these tightly orchestrated, seemingly soporific character studies. Although ’s Derek (Derek Bogart), an aspiring animator afflicted by premature hair loss, and ’s Erwin (Erwin Van Cotthem), a neglectful father who wastes his life on an online video game, can be entitled jerks, their motivations, thoughts, and feelings remain obscure. Who could honestly say, having spent a significant period of time in such close proximity to these men, that they truly understand them—that they know, for

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