By Claire Miglionico
O, Brazen Age is a feature art film by Canadian filmmaker Alexander Carson from Alberta-based director-driven media arts collective, North Country Cinema.
It premiered in 2015 at the Vancouver International Film Festival and is screening at the Magnolia Independent Film Festival in Starkville, Mississippi this month at which Carson first won a writing award for his 2009 film Lucy James part 1.
Luckily, O, Brazen Age will also be screening at the Globe Cinema on April 1.
“O, Brazen Age is a cross between an ensemble drama and an essay film. It’s part coming-of-age story, part art-cinema meditation on photography, memory, and souvenirs,” writes Carson in an email.
Originally from Ottawa, Carson recently re-located to Alberta, where a good portion of the North Country Cinema collective works and resides.
O, Brazen Age was shot in beautiful rural Ontario and Quebec (and some city), where Carson, Kyle Thomas and Sara Corry, also of NCC, spent time as film and communication students in Montreal.
O, Brazen Age does not fall short of complexities; it may leave the viewer lost but may also awaken the deep unanswered questions that, in this case, re-surface in haunting regret or nostalgia in our characters who are in their so-called “Brazen or Bronze Age” of their lives.
“The ‘Ages of Man’ fabled in the poetry of ancient Greece and Rome, the Brazen Age was characterized as a period of strife and change,” explains Carson.
In true art film form, Carson poetically connects the history of Western mythologies to the struggles of a group of artist friends in West Toronto and does so with strong original writing that’s intertwined with contrasting classical Shakespearean texts from King Lear and The Tempest.
“[The film] puts these competing narratives into conversation with a mytho-poetic tradition that’s deeply invested with a sense of desire, longing and search for meaning as its characters struggle to find happiness,” says Carson.
Albeit not autobiographical, friends of Carson’s, including The Valley Below’s Thomas, stare in the film. It makes for a very personal yet tunneled look into the complexities of friendship, which here, tends to drown in click-ey melodrama.
To bring untrained performers to the story was a bold move on Carson’s part; however, it makes the friendships in the film that much more believable.
“[It] brought a different set of rhythms and experiences to the film and served the destabilized structure of the narrative as a whole,” says Carson on mixing trained and untrained actors.
The theme of regret sticks as we see most characters stuck in the past rather than looking ahead. A couple characters attach to hope and intrigue rises. However, the friend group, as a whole, is not a very hopeful group of people, even dark and angry, at times, to the point of being toxic.
The film IS uncomfortable, and unsettling, which, as an art film, is a victory all in itself , as art films are created to provoke, to derange and to make us re-think what we thought we already knew.
“Filmmaking is part of how I live with regret, how I attempt to atone or to mitigate sadness, or reimagine things I don’t like about the world, or about myself, ” shares Carson.
“Creating images and telling stories is, for me, a way to stand defiantly against regret, but that doesn’t make it go away”.
O, Brazen Age, is awaiting your interpretation. What will come up for you?
For more information on upcoming films from NCC, please visit http://northcountrycinema.com/
O, Brazen Age screens at the Globe Cinema on April 1 at 7 pm.Alexander Carson, Brazen Age, Globe Cinema, Magnolia Independent Film Festival, O, Vancouver International Film Festival