"The World Is Yours." Half a century after Howard Hawks and Ben Hecht delivered their brutal critique of the American Dream as personified by Al Capone in 1932’s Scarface, De Palma and screenwriter Oliver Stone found the Dream alive and kicking in Miami. Cuban hoodlum Tony Montana (Al Pacino) sees the fast track to success lies in cocaine, murder and pure ambition. Though only a modest success on its initial release, Scarface became one of the most iconic and resonant movies of its era.
A young reporter (Jennifer Salt) witnesses a murder from afar, but cannot prove it. The truth is more grim than she imagines… Sisters has a grand guignol conceit but it’s not really a horror movie - rather it’s a witty mystery suspense thriller drawing from Rear Window and Psycho. Ironically through Hitchcockian pastiche De Palma found his own voice as a filmmaker. Even at this early stage includes extraordinarily adept use of split screen, lengthy travelling shots, and an operatic "Eye of God" storytelling sense - or if you prefer, a deeply twisted sense of humour.
In adapting journalist Stevie Cameron’s book On The Farm, producer Rupert Harvey, screenwriter Dennis Foon and director Rachel Talalay have elected to keep the focus predominantly on the women: the addicts and sex workers of the Downtown Eastside; the activists who offer refuge to that community; and a lone female cop who believes the missing women deserve serious investigation. Eschewing sensationalism and relegating Pickton himself to a bit-part, the film is inevitably, and rightly, a demanding watch, but its sympathies are clear to see, alongside an uncompromising indictment of the callous sexism, exploitation and social neglect that allowed Pickton’s crimes to go undetected for so long. This preview ahead of its CBC broadcast will be followed by a panel discussion.