OXV: The Manual
It is often said that love is dependent upon the chemistry between two individuals. Therefore, not much can be done when the object of one’s affection doesn’t reciprocate one’s feelings. While this fact proves especially true for the characters in OXV: THE MANUAL, its impact resonates more on a scientific level than a sentimental one. In the parallel dimension which they inhabit, each human being emits a certain frequency that ultimately determines their destinies, luck and superior intelligence being a blessing for those with higher frequencies. Those with lower frequencies, on the other hand, are condemned to endless misery.
The moment Zak lays eyes on Marie he knows there’s nothing he wants more than to be by her side; a dream that is unfortunately out of the question due to their different frequency levels. His being low and hers very high, they are only allowed to interact for one minute each year. As time goes by, Zak experiments with different ways to change his frequency. When he finally succeeds, the great order of things starts crumbling down around him.
OXV: THE MANUAL feels like it came straightdown from outer space. Director Darren Paul Fisher himself calls it the first scientific-philosophical romance, a perfectly fitting label. The British filmmaker creates a coherently rich universe reminiscent of great comic visionaries like Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison, a deliriously fantastic world whose stunning resemblance to our own gradually starts to fade as it subversively transforms itself. A screenwriter inspired by eccentricity, Fisher stands out with his masterful juxtaposition of an impossible-love story and the existential ranting of an insomniac college student. He also approaches surrealism in the same playful spirit as Michel Gondry. Fisher stands at an improbable crossroads, somewhere between characteristically British, Pythonesque comedy and the anxious meditations of Shane Carruth (UPSTREAM COLOR). The art direction is a true feast for the eyes, creating a candid, light atmosphere with its wide variety of bright colours. OXV: THE MANUAL is one of those little miracles that only independent cinema can produce: a work of resounding originality that blows a breath of fresh air across the film festival circuit.
— Simon Laperrière