True North | Future//Present
An anarchic and altogether hilarious feature debut, Mangoshake is a shoestring-budgeted object of absurdity verging on outsider art that transcends its lo-fi production with brilliant staging and framing. Set amidst the boredom of suburban summertime when pals Ian (Ian Sheldon) and Philip (Philip Silverstein) open a mangoshake stand, the film tracks a group of young friends and their collective existential malaise in a series of episodes that range from laugh-out-loud to surreal to manic to downright touching. Embracing an endearing DIY rawness, the film’s rigorously directed, mannered comic style (think Roy Andersson) is leavened by its compassion and accumulating undercurrent of youthful pathos (think Gregg Araki). Either a backhanded ode to the coming-of-age film or its revisionist death rattle, Mangoshake is nevertheless a discreetly lyrical articulation of ennui, set in a milieu usually defined by characters who rebel against it but who, here, play within it instead—as does their director along with them. One of the most exciting new voices in Canadian cinema, Terry Chiu has the eye of a comic visionary, one that brings to mind masters of formalist comedy (Jacques Tati, Jerry Lewis). This may very well be the best thing ever born out of Canadian suburbia, and that’s even taking into consideration some of our greatest hockey players.
— Adam Cook
Audience Award, What the Film Festival 18