May 3, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Fail to Appear
With Antoine Bourges
Toronto-based filmmaker Antoine Bourges will be joining us for the Brooklyn premiere of his feature-length film, Fail to Appear. After spending several years in a disadvantaged neighborhood of Vancouver, Bourges became interested in illustrating the experience of a rookie social worker, the system’s many unnavigable twists and turns, and takes viewers on an insightful trip into a bleak, bureaucratic world with heart and humanity. Bourges’ vision of Canadian social institutions and support networks, particularly for those struggling with mental health issues or addiction is one of truth and gravity.
Within Bourges’ filmmaking process, he looked at the fundamental inadequacy of these social institutions—not through a feature-length exposé, but by observing the individuals that often bear the brunt of the cost. Pointedly bifurcated to follow each character individually, the film structures itself around negative spaces, various gaps—in personal attention, social interaction, and institutional bureaucracy—and the incremental weight of what gets lost in this mix.
Fail to Appear
70 min., 2017
Isolde (Deragh Campbell) is a support caseworker in training trying to get a handle on the protocols, norms, and material constraints of her new vocation. She’s assigned to the case of Eric (Nathan Roder), a withdrawn, sullen man charged with petty theft, with whom she must forge enough of a relationship that he’ll show up for his impending court date. Bourges’s Toronto-set debut precisely renders the mechanics and kinks of the Canadian legal system and social services, conferring an element of documentary reality on a droll, touching narrative, which has an elegantly unembellished style that verges on the Bressonian.
Antoine Bourges is a Toronto-based filmmaker originating from Paris. His films navigate the intersection of documentary and fiction cinema, with an emphasis on human relations within institutional systems. His shorts Woman Waiting (2010) and William in White Shirt (2015), along with his mid-length film East Hastings Pharmacy (2012) have been presented in numerous festivals and film events such as the Berlinale, TIFF, the Viennale, Ann Arbor, Cinéma du Réel, and the Anthology Film Archives. His first feature film Fail to Appear (2017) was presented at the Art of the Real festival and released theatrically in Canada in 2018.
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