FILM REVIEW: LAPSIS (FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL)
Thankfully our prayers have been answered and the Fantasia International Film Festival 2020 is going ahead! This year Fantasia is happening in cyberspace, screening virtually to Canadian audiences. The excitement of the festival is not so lost, as many films are showing as they would usually in Montreal. Though we all long for the mingling and hushed murmurings of an in-cinema premiere, festivals going ahead in this new manner is some solace for indie filmmakers and filmgoers.
Sometimes the most effective sci-fi is merely a simple tweak of what we already experience. An alternate-reality present-day is a perfect timeline to make us sit back and ponder whether we are already living in a dystopia. Just how alternate is the reality from our own?
LAPSIS, written and directed by Noah Hutton, is an allegorical film that muses on the pitfalls of capitalism but also avoids being too on the nose. Though it has been compared to BLACK MIRROR, LAPSIS bypasses the series’ heavy-handedness for a more nuanced and impactful social commentary.
In a slightly less technologically advanced world, a monopolizing company has created an internet system that supersedes regular broadband. The company employs independent contractors who do “cabling” which involves hiking through forests laying cable from one port to another. To help pay for a range of expensive healthcare treatments for his brother, who is battling a chronic fatigue-like disorder, Ray- who still uses a blackberry- decides to quit his job to attempt making money cabling.
The work is hard, however, with a system that purposely works against him. Not only is earning ‘points’ hard, but the terrain is also rough, and there are robots to race against (through which the company can steal his earnings back if they beat him to the end of his trail.)
LAPSIS is a survival thriller of a different kind which taps into the more the real world fears that come with every day, uphill struggles of trying to get by in a society where the underdog stays the underdog and the top dogs remain rich. Through seamlessly integrated science fiction, the film is an enthralling exposition on the private healthcare system, wage inequalities and worker exploitation. Watching conjures images of low-income single mums sold the Boss Babe illusion by Multi-Level-Marketing companies or Uber drivers barely breaking even after the business takes its cut.
His history of documentary film making influences Noah Hutton’s latest foray into fiction. His documentary features DEEP TIME and CRUDE INDEPENDENCE, which address the societal and environmental impacts of multi-billion dollar companies drilling for oil. LAPSIS is permeated with these same themes, and Hutton’s future film ventures are worth keeping an eye on.
In an unexpected positive result of Fantasia going digital, LAPSIS is available on-demand, through the festival’s virtual platform, from August 20 until September 2nd.
“Though it has been compared to BLACK MIRROR, LAPSIS bypasses the series’ heavy-handedness for a more nuanced and impactful social commentary. “
4 Tombstones out of 5…