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White Bird in a Blizzard

Canadian Premiere
  • USA
  • 2014
  • 91 mins
  • DCP
  • English
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Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival 2014

“A bitterly ironic critique of American suburbia” - Don Simpson, FILM THREAT

“A heady and intoxicating viewing experience” - Chase Whale, THE PLAYLIST

Nobody can resist the comforting smile of Kat’s mother, an exemplary housewife. Eve, her husband and her daughter are the very picture of the perfect family. They have everything going for them: the stable marriage, the nice house with a pool, the car, the latest household appliances. It’s the ideal suburban environment in which Kat grows up, and develops a troubled fascination with the enigmatic individual she calls mom. For some time, the teenager has observed a previously hidden side to Eve, her evasiveness and mood swings indicating a deeply rooted disturbance. Kat asks herself why Eve hasn’t fled her stifling daily routine. She’d ask her mom if Kat herself wasn’t going through not dissimilar circumstances. She’s a teen, after all, experiencing bodily changes, the thrill of first love and anxiety about her future. The day arrives when everything is upended. Without a word, her mother vanishes. At first, Kat is convinced that Eve found the courage to seek out a new life. But doubts set in when strange dreams disturb her sleep. She sees her mother crying out for help, as would someone in a gravely dangerous situation.

After detonating his explosive KABOOM, indie cinema icon Gregg Araki surprises again with WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD, his elegant adaptation of the novel by Laura Kasischke. Araki is in top form as he rolls out an intimate drama about a teenager overwhelmed by events in her life. A sensitive surveyor of the soul (recall MYSTERIOUS SKIN), he poetically depicts the trials of passage to adulthood. His portrayal of this life stage touches the heart with its emotional authenticity. In the role of the missing mother, Eva Green leaves aside her femme-fatale image, revealing a tender fragility. Opposite her is Shailene Woodley (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS) as Kat, in a remarkably natural performance. Graced with superb dream sequences, WHITE BIRD also develops an investigative dimension as the domestic mystery deepens. Araki’s vision of the ’burbs is of a piece with that of BLUE VELVET, a deceptively tranquil environment hiding the darkest secrets. With its admirable art direction, this stunning film confirms the brilliance of its auteur.

— Simon Laperrière