Wednesday, December 31, 2008


1997, New Zealand, directed by Brad McGann

Like many short films, Brad McGann's Possum bears little resemblance to his subsequent feature work, at least in terms of tone; there's almost no narrative, with instead a focus on intense atmospherics. Set in the New Zealand bush, at some indeterminate time in the past, McGann experiments with sepia-toned imagery and, especially, an intense and occasionally disturbing palette of sounds to evoke a backwoods nightmare, in which a disciplinarian father attempts to rule over his meagre kingdom, including a daughter who is closer to the animals that surround the hut than to her relatives. Although it's hard to grasp what McGann's ultimate purpose is - the narrative doesn't help much - the film insinuates itself into the mind, and the overall atmosphere of dread plays cleverly with audience expectations.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States