Anne at 13,000 ft – Film Review
by Frank L
Director: Kazik Radwanski
Writer: Kazik Radwanski
Stars: Deragh Campbell, Lawrene Denkers, Matt Johnson
Kazik Radwanski, the director of this film, is a thirty-five year old Canadian and this is his third feature film. Tower (2012) and How Heavy this Hammer (2015) both received critical acclaim on the festival circuit. Anne at 13,000 ft indeed premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. In an interview with IonCinema, Radwanski explained the film was shot over two years in a daycare centre. Radwanski has an acute sensibility for the world of daycare centres as his mother worked in one for forty years.
In the film, Anne (Deragh Campbell) is a new employee in the daycare centre. She appears to have no difficulty in striking up an easy rapport with the kids. However, she is challenged by her colleagues and the management of the centre. She finds the repetitiveness of the daily routine a burdensome imposition.
Radwanski uses Nikolay Michaylov as his cinematographer with whom he has worked before and in whom he has great confidence. Most of the film is shot very close up so that the expressions on Campbell’s face are like picture paintings of her thoughts. As her relationships with her colleagues, her mother and the children cover a wide spectrum, the intensity of the camera work adds to her sense of displacement. However, that displacement is not one which arises in her interaction with the children; it is with the adults she has a problem. The intensity of the camera work is the great strength of the film.
Campbell gives a powerful performance of a young woman who struggles to fit in as a daycare worker (or indeed as a daughter). She is a square peg in a round hole. The film only lasts seventy-five minutes. It is enjoyable to watch but in the end, it is not easy to determine what Radwanski was seeking to achieve. From that point of view, the film is a bit of an enigma. However, that sense of puzzlement may indeed be its strength.