Deeply conflicted about his sexuality and his lapses into temptation, Aaron (Alex Crowther) takes decisive action and commits himself to a reparative retreat that promises to curb his impulses. Encouraging its handful of attendees to "regain masculinity" through a variety of sessions and exercises, the group is presided over by John (Ryan Hollyman), who oscillates between tender placidity and righteous outrage as he manipulates his repressed charges. Simmering with resentment and self-reproach, Aaron is ill-suited to subordination.
With its highly calibrated tension, formal precision and unsettlingly inscrutable players, Andrew Stanley’s psychologically rich first feature is a transfixing exploration of the limits of one’s ability to truly change. As we’re left to watch Aaron (imbued with a disquieting sense of doom by Crowther) unravel through immaculately framed shots and long takes (all captured by Jeremy Cox, one of Vancouver’s preeminent cinematographers), Stanley demonstrates an assured directorial hand. While intimate in scale, this is undeniably devastating storytelling.
Includes an interview with Director: Andrew Stanley, Actors: Alex Crowther and Ryan Hollyman
Alex Crowther, Ryan Hollyman, Kristopher Turner, Sharon McFarlane, Jesse Lavercombe
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Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.
Andrew Stanley is a Toronto-based filmmaker. He has been the recipient of TIFF’s Barry Avrich Award for Developing Film Talent and was awarded a Filmmaker in Residence at The Wexner Center’s Film/Video Studio Program. Flowers of the Field is his debut feature.