Set within the beautiful snow covered landscape of Nova Scotia, here co-writer and director Amnon Buchbinder notably takes a variant approach to the subject of adolescent sexual awakening, by refusing to detail the precise nature of the sexuality involved.
For thirteen-year-old Emerson finds his welcome at the local middle school, as cold as the rural Canadian environment around him. Not that it helps that the new boy just happens to be the most literate one in his class, having already written his first book, a 500-page Hobbit style novel. Yet when the book of the month is switched at Emerson's
request for Shakespeare, such an act results with a love sonnet being delivered in person to his tutors' door; one Don Grant. Not that he's in. Rather this man of words is out sampling the amenities to be found at his favourite out-of-town rest room!
By now you kind of get the feeling that the line between the student / teacher relationship is starting to blur. Only the problem does not lie in the direction of Mr Grant; rather with Emerson, who lacks the maturity to see the repercussions of his infatuation with a man old enough to be his father. Then again, perhaps this should be of no surprise, given he's been raised on the new age values of his hippy parents Rog and Kaya. Yet with the free-spirited approach of his parents under threat, courtesy of an increasingly uptight father and a mother now seeking sexual relief in the arms of another, something has to give. The question, as ever, remains what?
At times looking more girl than boy, if not Harry Potter like, here is a work that delights in throwing sexual pigeonholes out of the window, one greatly enhanced by the presence of Canadian indie star Daniel (Beefcake)(Take-out) MacIvor, who alongside Buchbinder co-wrote the screenplay and who is every inch the disillusioned teacher of the piece. Only it is newcomer Aaron Webber who steals the show, brilliantly capturing the raw emotions of the teenage heart and mind. For this is a boy who remains sexually androgynous throughout, able to get aroused at the sight of a women's breasts, yet all too eager to see his teacher naked in the sauna.
Somewhat let down by an equally ambiguous conclusion, this nevertheless remains a highly refreshing and beautifully told work that showcases not so much adolescent sexual experimentation, but rather society's attitude to human sexuality itself. After all and in Emerson's own words, who says you have to choose? Delightful.
screened as part of the 20th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2006
starring: Aaron Webber, Daniel MacIvor, Robert Joy, Rebecca Jenkins, Callum Keith Rennie, Kathryn MacLellan,
Drew O'Hara, Ryan Hartigan, Geordie Brown, Jackie Torrens, Lisa Lelliott, Leah Fassett,
Samantha Spencer, Rebecca Regan, Marguerite McNeil