Saturday, October 10, 2009

Life Classes

(William D. MacGillivray, 1987)
In reviewing this tale of a Cape Breton woman mingling with the Halifax art crowd, Gerald Pratley describes it as "a biting comment on what passes for art today." Maybe he was in one of his rare sour moods that day: for me, this film is remarkable precisely because it straddles worlds without resorting to such heavy-handed dismissals. From life classes to cable-TV bestiality porn, from color-by-numbers to New York video art to transatlantic object envy, on down to the Gaelic lullabies that protagonist Jacinta Cormier will carry with her to her grave, this is first and foremost a comprehensive and exquisitely balanced examination of how art works in our everyday lives. No - in the everyday lives of these specific people, in this specific place, a Halifax where tradition and modernism meet and clash. All of which is communicated through a remarkably patient character based narrative, not auteurist pyrotechnics - which isn't to say that the auteur's ultra-timely fusion of Don Shebib and Atom Egoyan is anything but brilliant.


  1. Life Classes is on DVD???! Have to find this-- I've been wanting to see this for years! Good show, mate!

  2. Borrowed it from a friend. Still in print: