Once There Was a Winter
Sea to Sky | BC Spotlight
The Canadian north’s unforgiving nature is amplified to chilling effect in this claustrophobic, white-knuckle thriller from Ana Valine (winner of BC Emerging Filmmaker at VIFF 14 for Sitting on the Edge of Marlene). What is supposed to be a quick stop at a remote mobile home turns into a standoff between embittered brothers (Teach Grant and Juan Riedinger, both excellent), with an innocent woman (Kate Corbett) caught in the crossfire. As old wounds are reopened and fresh blood is spilled, the literal wolves at the door pose little threat in comparison to the personal demons being unleashed inside.
As the double-wide’s four occupants (rounded out by Kris Demeanor, as a strange, silent type) start to conduct themselves like caged animals, rationality is replaced by a rich mood that’s as mournful as a murder ballad; albeit one that’s lent an almost agonizing tension by the refusal of any of its players to pull the trigger.
"This is what it is to be a woman in the world, reading invisible signals and recalculating every moment—the fine balancing act of living the adventure, being wide open to it all, and keeping your wits close."—Ana Valine