Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Must-See: Diamond Tongues

How's Pavan Moondi and Brian Robertson's Diamond Tongues? Fucking great! It's a lot more polished than their previous film Everyday Is Like Sunday and it confirms the duo's ability to work with actors, direct and edit. It's the story of Edith, a young actress in Toronto, who struggles to move on after a break-up and to find work. The lead actress Leah Goldstein, from the band July Talk, steals the show as she brings a vulnerability and charm to the more selfish and unlikable character. And the music composers Brendan Canning and Ohad Benchetrit layer over the film an impressive selection of Canadian indie music that would make any other mainstream feature film jealous.

Similar to Matt Johnson's Nirvana The Band it's about the struggle for an artistic breakthrough in a city that's not always welcoming. (Johnson, whose upcoming Operation Avalanche is still awaiting a premiere announcement, even has a great small role in the titular experimental film-within-the-film). Diamond Tongues asks questions about the creation of media in Toronto, and in Canada in general, as Edith struggles to get a role on a low budget horror film Blood Sausage while all of her friends are either acting in features, writing scripts, doing web-series etc. Edith’s problems include not getting called back from auditions, an agent that's not helpful, and an acting coach that just wants to sleep with her. But Moondi and Robertson raises the film beyond the realistic as there's a boil-water advisory sub-plot that pushes Diamond Tongues closer to the surreal and reminds one of another Toronto apocalypse-like film, Don McKellar’s Last Night.

Calum Marsh has compared Diamond Tongues to the New York DIY films and there are definitively similarities to Robert Greene's Actress and Nathan Silver's Soft in the Head, as well as to, just for the theater scenes, Matt Porterfield's I Used to be Darker.

The film showcases the cool spots of downtown Toronto and its bar scenes and neighborhoods are extremely recognizable.

Diamond Tongues is Pavan Moondi and Brian Robertson's best film and the Toronto film of 2015.

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