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DNKraljacic - Dex

Comments on some recent movies that are not widely available... from the standpoint of a filmmaker, screenwriting professor, and a film critic and scholar.

Dejan Nikolaj Kraljacic is a regular contributor


SHE WHO MUST BURN (d: Larry Kent, Canada, 2015) - World premiere at Montreal's Fantasia

Larry Kent

Once again, recently closed Fantasia International Film Festival (19th edition, July 14 - August 5, Montreal 2015), the largest genre film festival in North America, has offered an incredible program. Among 22 world premieres, a special place belongs to She Who Must Burn, a “burning” piece by legendary iconoclastic filmmaker Larry Kent, pioneer of Canadian independent scene since early 1960ies. Unfortunately, Kent is not so widely known even in Canada, yet he made more than a dozen features (plus shorts and documentaries), including his controversial debut The Bitter Ash (1963). Some of his movies were banned in many countries around the world. He has influenced and inspired a number of filmmakers, including David Cronenberg. And in this particular case, it should be emphasized that although She Who Must Burn is the work of a filmmaker in his early 80ies, the energy this intelligent piece emits is such, that many young maverick filmmakers should be a bit jealous of.

She Who Must Burn is a profound, thought-provoking and, above all, an honest movie that brilliantly speaks about our flawed human nature. This is a story about an influential group of religious fanatics that fights against abortion rights in a little rural town. During the course of the movie, their main target, or She from the title, becomes a young woman who runs an abortion counseling service, and soon enough, she would be even blamed for miscarriages. The ominous atmosphere that skillfully grows throughout the movie culminates in an uncompromising ending of (literally) biblical proportions – a devastating storm! Personally, the most disturbing is the very end, where the local sheriff (as representative of our law and order) is peeking into the tragic events and doing nothing, defeated by both, laws of nature and superstition, i.e. conquered by our pagan heritage without any resistance.

Questioning our primal fears and essential powerlessness, this parable is like a slap in the face to our contemporary society. The great script (written by Larry Kent and Shane Twerdun who plays the local pastor), the very precise directing, the convincing performances, the intriguing music score, the micro-budget, altogether lift this piece up to a higher level, making She Who Must Burn an important Canadian movie, well deserved winner of a newly established award – Barry Convex Award for best Canadian Feature or Co-Production (yes, that Barry, the master manipulator from the Cronenberg’s cult classic Videodrome). Very powerful!

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About DNKraljacic - Dex

Kraljacic Dejan Nikolaj

Dex wrote, directed and produced almost a dozen shorts and documentaries, including award-winning pieces (such as a short Balkan Blues and documentary Shattered Dreams) since the mid-1990s.

Co-wrote the Huddersfield feature film that was awarded for best screenplay of the year in Serbia (2007). Since the late 1990s, have been working in the advertising field, was a film program director, cinema books publisher, staged an original comedy in theatre, and dealt with film criticism (a member of FIPRESCI). An associate professor of screenwriting at Academy of Arts University of Novi Sad, Serbia, a Raindance / Staffordshire University postgraduate degree film program mentor (UK/Canada - worldwide (online)). Holds a Ph.D. in film studies. Very fond of comic books.

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