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Wolfville, Nova Scotia


Morvern Callar

Chris Campbell

Morvern Callar stillHow can you describe something that works so well without saying a lot? One thing that I don't like about many reviews is the recounting of the plot as a way to fill the space. Scottish director Lynne Ramsay's Morvern Callar is a haunting film that is surprising as you watch it and it kept me off-balance and anxious the whole time that I was watching it. There are secrets, but I don't think that knowing them ruins the enjoyment, but I won't share them with you as part of the pleasure in watching for me was not know where things were going. Samantha Morton stars as Morvern Callar and she gives a hypnotic performance that combines with great cinematography, editing and direction to create a film that really has stuck with me. I was speechless after it was done and then said, "Wow." I can't think of many films that have left me in an unsettled state during the film... the Belgian film C'est Arrivé Près de Chez Vous (Man Bites Dog) did it and there have been other films as well, but while "Man Bites Dog" is deeply disturbing and well-made I may not watch it again. Another film that did it was Lynne Stopkewich's Kissed, which is also haunting and disturbing and I will watch again. Is it that Kissed and Morvern Callar were both directed by women (with the same first names as well)?One of the things that I loved about Morvern Callar was Lynne Ramsay's capturing of moments that felt very real. Things like watching a bug walk under a doorway, the banality of work, talking with a friend's grandmother, talking with someone at a party while drinking with the noise or just sitting and thinking. It's great to watch something that is so visual and so subjective and so beautiful. I have the DVD and I think that I'm going to get the soundtrack as well. Warp Records has a good Morvern Callar site for the film with a look that I love. The film was shot in 2001, released in 2002, but for North America it seems as if it was one of those films that people don't want to release, so it quietly slips out onto DVD with the only features being chapter selection!