Writer-director Ana Valine will introduce Friday's screening.
"Mommy Dearest" might have been an alternate title for this edgy, angry/sad drama adapted from Vancouver novelist’s Billie Livingston’s The Trouble with Marlene. Teenager Sammie (Paloma Kwiatkowski) pines for her incarcerated father but lives with mom, Marlene (Suzanne Clément) - a small town swindler with big city ambitions.
As role models go Marlene leaves much to be desired. She uses her sex appeal to con, cheat, entrap or blackmail men, and now that her looks are on the wane she hides behind pills or booze, or just takes off whenever the going gets tough. On the other hand, she’s savvy in her way, tough as nails, and no ordinary housewife, that’s for sure. When the rebellious Sammie takes up with a local evangelical Church this troubled mother-daughter relationship threatens to erupt into all-out warfare.
Poised between tragedy and black comedy, classical Hollywood glamour and contemporary independent grit (at one moment you might think of Tennessee Williams or Flannery O’Conner, and the next Xavier Dolan or Gus van Sant) this homegrown debut feature from the talented Ana Valine keeps glancing off in unexpected directions, delving into the crooked angles that keep the indomitable Marlene simultaneously unbearably distant and inescapably close.