embracing a brave new millennium
of daylit film art
and exuberant adultery
in the allegorical film art
of Sarah Polley
by Gary W. Wright
Fittingly, given that she went on to become the embodiment of Canadian indie docufeature film art, Sarah Ellen Polley kicked off her film art career as an irresistibly cute girl actress in the twilit, allegorical and implicitly Joe Dante and John Landis addressing Phillip Borsos indie docufeature film ONE MAGIC CHRISTMAS (1985), a Canadian indie docufeature film made with Walt Disney Pictures that was released on November 22, 1985 in which she had a small but memorable role as a poor and wistful Tiny Timithina of a girl named Molly Monaghan. Just as significantly, Polley soon reappeared as the sweet but feisty and indomitable girl feminist Sally Salt in the twilit, allegorical, computer generated imagery (CGI) enhanced, madcap and implicitly James Cameron toasting and Landis and Steven Spielberg roasting Terry Gilliam indie animaction film THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN (1989), released on December 8, 1988. A fittingly feisty feminist role, indeed, and one that not only forebode her own feist feminist spirit and film art but also affirmed that the era of equally feisty, feminist and indomitable female film artists such as Kathryn Bigelow, Sofia Carmina “SCC” Coppola, Mary Harron, Angelina Jolie, Lea Pool, Patricia Rozema, Susan Seidelman and Sandy Wilson had arrived.
A feisty female film art era helped along in Canada at least by the signing into law on April 17, 1982 of a new Constitution that gave equality to women and the freedom to express their thoughts, ideas, feelings and opinions, allowing film artists like Polley, Rozema and Lea Pool to join a Canadian film art community dominated for years by film artists like Denys Arcand, James Cameron, David Cronenberg, and Ivan Reitman. Thus, it was fitting that prior to releasing her own film art, Polley also played the troubled, murderous and implicitly Guy Maddin film art linked young wife Maren Hontredt in the twilit and allegorical Bigelow indie docufeature artbuster THE WEIGHT OF WATER (2000), a film released on September 9, 2000. For the film allowed Bigelow to experience Canada’s bold new Constitutional era during its creation in Nova Scotia, while its creation allowed Polley to experience a fearless and brilliant female indie film artist at work on one of her most complex, multi-layered, mysterious and feminine films.
Of course, growing up in the world of film art gave Polley a wealth of experience and insight to draw upon to create her own indie docufeature film art, like growing up in famous film families gave to SCC and Jason Reitman. Last but not least, and unlike most film artists but like SCC and Reitman, Polley was implicitly linked to characters in films before she appeared in theatres with her own film art. Indeed, like Reitman, Polley was implicitly linked to a character in a Marvel super satirical film before she arrived on the scene. For Marvel and Twentieth Century Fox implicitly linked her to the luvlorn Karen Page-played by Ellen Pompeo-secretary of the implicitly Richard Kelly linked lawyer and man with no fear Matthew “Matt” Murdock aka “Daredevil”-played by Ben Affleck-in the twilit, allegorical, computer generated imagery (CGI) enhanced and implicitly George Lucas and Alex Proyas roasting Mark S. Johnson super satirical animaction film DAREDEVIL (2003), a film released on February 9, 2003 that was inspired by a character created by Beamin’ Bill Everett, Jolly Jack Kirby and Smilin’ Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. Thus, given that Bigelow had acted as a mentor to Polley with THE WEIGHT OF WATER, it was fitting that the fearless Bigelow was implicitly linked in the film to the equally fearless warrioress Elektra Natchios-inspired by a character created by Fantastic Frank Miller for Marvel Comics and played by Jennifer Garner. Just as curiously, three years later, Polley was also implicitly and fittingly linked to the implicitly CGI disdaining and Republican battling neo-Marxist rebel Veronica “Dream” Mung-played by Amy Poehler-daughter of the implicitly Cronenberg linked indie arms dealer Walter Mung-played by Christophe Lambert-in the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and Ozian themed Kelly indie docufeature film SOUTHLAND TALES (2006), released on May 21, 2006.
A fitting implicit link of Polley to Veronica, indeed, for despite releasing her film art in the dread allegorical Zone War era, Polley showed little implicit interest in CGI enhancement to prevent fatal disasters on her film sets or in the Zone Wars in her own film art. This made Polley one of the first film artists of the post-Zone War era, a commitment to a daylit new millenium of film art seen when she donned the writer/director hats and created her first daylit, allegorical and slightly CGI enhanced indie docufeature film AWAY FROM HER (2006), released on September 11, 2006, based on the allegorical Alice Munro story “The Bear Came Over The Mountain” (1999) and curiously complete with its own Veronica-played by Deanna Dezmari-in a much smaller but still significant role.
we don’t go to the movies much any more,
do we, Grant?
All those multiplexes
showing the same American garbage.”
Fittingly, the film began with a character played by Gordon Pinsent driving his sturdy black Ford pickup down a snowswept street in cold grey winter daylight, immediately linking Polley to a daylit new millennium of film art. This image slowly morphed into a grainy memory of a beautiful young blonde woman-played by Stacey Laberge-also shot in daylight. Then two people in snow gear were seen cross country skiing across a sunswept expanse of crisp white snow, reaffirming Polley’s implicit commitment to a daylit new millennium of film art and her embrace of the Toronto school of indie docufeature film art with its trademark and undisguised embrace of Toronto and its environs. Then AWAY FROM HER saw the implicitly George Lucas linked and retired Norse mythology Professor Grant Andersson-played by Pinsent-slowly lose his wife Fiona, a Canadian of Icelandic descent-played by Julie Christie-to Alzheimer’s over the course of the film. It was also noticeable that Andersson refused to abandon his wife of forty-four years even when Fiona lost interest in him for a while and turned to the possibly Cameron linked Aubrey-played by Michael Murphy-at Meadowlake, her long term care centre. Indeed, the film ended with Andersson hugging Fiona fiercely and luvingly, in the end, as that wistful memory of her as a beautiful, bewitching and implicitly Hollywood linked blonde seen at the beginning of the film flashed through his mind, bringing the film full wistful circle.
Significantly, as this wistful and bewitching memory of the young Fiona implied that she symbolized the film art of Lucas, Polley implied that the myth luving Lucas had lost touch with his film art by 2006 as surely as the myth luving Andersson lost touch with the fading Fiona in AWAY FROM HER, an implicit sentiment that most audiences and reviewers agreed with, given the indifference at best and scorn at worst heaped upon the recently completed STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy (1999-2005). Indeed, the labyrinthine hallways and dementia suffering residents of Meadowlake evoked the equally labyrinthine hallways and odd citizens of the subterranean world of the allegorical Lucas indie docufeature film THX 1138 (1971), affirming the implicit link of Andersson to Lucas. The film’s allusions to the allegorical and implicitly Ralph Bakshi roasting Lucas indie docufeature film AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973) also affirmed the film’s implicit Lucas addressing intent. In fact, the name of Grant Andersson evoked that of Curt Henderson-played by Richard Dreyfuss-in AMERICAN GRAFFITI, and STAR WARS universe author Kevin J. Anderson, reaffirming the link of Andersson to Lucas. The fact that AWAY FROM HER was shot with a mostly stationary camera also affirmed the film’s interest in Lucas, reminding us that his films were usually shot with a stationary camera.
The implicit link of Bigelow to Meadowlake supervisor Madeleine Montpellier-played by Wendy Crewson-reaffirmed the implicit link of Andersson to Lucas, reminding us that Bigelow often addressed Lucas in her film art. The resemblance of Meadowlake managing nurse Kristy-played by Kristen Thomson-to Linda Ronstadt also affirmed the implicit link of Andersson to Lucas, reminding us that Lucas dated Ronstadt for a time after the Great Divorce of 1983 to Marcia Lucas. Last but not least, the wistful and bewitching memory of Fiona as a beautiful young woman also reminded us that wistful and bewitching memories and dreams haunted imperfect humans and perfect replicants throughout the eerily and presciently twilit and allegorical, CGI enhanced, Ozian themed and Lucas addressing Sir Ridley Scott indie docufeature artbuster BLADE RUNNER (1982), reaffirming Andersson’s implicit link to Lucas.
Intriguingly, Fiona and Aubrey also resembled Barbara Sue “Babs” Jansen and Robert Hoover-played by Martha Smith and James Widdoes, respectively-in the allegorical Landis indie docufeature film ANIMAL HOUSE (1978). This link to Landis reminded us that Lucas had sympathetically turned up in small cameo as a disappointed Wonder World customer in the twilit and allegorical Landis docufeature film BEVERLY HILLS COP III (1994). A sympathy with Landis that offended anyone who felt that Landis deserved no sympathy, given that his callous and clueless misdirection led to the fatal helicopter crash that killed Renee Chen, Myca Le and Vic Morrow around 2:20 am in the early morning hours of July 23, 1982 on the set of a recreated Vietnamese village for his George Folsey jr. produced segment of the twilit, allegorical, Kathleen Kennedy associate produced, Frank Marshall executive produced and Landis and Spielberg produced Dante, Landis, Spielberg and George Miller docufeature film TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983). Thus, Polley implied that she was as offended by the cinematic sympathy of Lucas for the devilish Landis as she was dismissive of the STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy.
Curiously, however, and despite this implicit disapproval of Lucas and his pro-Landis stance, Polley held out hope for at least one last good film from the disgraced Jedi Master. For the relationship Andersson developed with the coffee and cigarette luving, implicitly David Lynch linked and resigned wife of Aubrey, Marian-played by Olympia Dukakis-suggested that Andersson was not as helpless as he appeared. Indeed, the sight of Andersson with Marian implied that a new commitment to higher film art for film art’s sake was in the works, a new beginning that would allow him to come to grips with Fiona’s fate or even fully release Fiona in time. For the relationship with Marian, taken up without the knowledge of Fiona and perhaps in jealous fury for her relationship with Aubrey, showed that Andersson was not as faithful to Fiona as he implied in his visits to her. Marian’s implicit link to Lynch also reaffirmed the implicit link of Andersson to Lucas, reminding us that Lynch was implicitly linked to the indomitable and Good Force for Good Force’s sake Jedi Knight and then Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi-played by Ewen McGregor-throughout the STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy.
At any rate, AWAY FROM HER was a fine and well received first feature film, and one that implicitly attracted notice. For the sight and sound of the callous and wealthy Professor David and Doctor Catherine Stewart-played by Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore, respectively-using and destroying the young, naïve, troubled and implicitly Polley linked prostitute Chloe-played by Amanda Seyfried-implied that Atom Egoyan-co-executive producer of AWAY FROM HER-was implicitly warning Polley not to let herself be used, abused and destroyed by wealthy and callous Hollywood vampires in the twilit and allegorical indie docufeature film CHLOE (2009), a film released on September 13, 2009 whose Toronto locations implicitly affirmed that CHLOE was addressing a Toronto based female film artist. Shortly afterward, Kelly also implicitly linked Polley to Norma Lewis-played by Cameron Diaz-wife of the implicitly Lucas linked NASA camera expert Arthur “Art” Lewis-played by James Marsden-and implicitly warned her that her wistful fondness for Lucas could be as much of a mistake as the decision of Norma to push a fateful button in the hopes of winning one million crisp dollars in the twilit, allegorical and slightly CGI enhanced Kelly indie docufeature film THE BOX (2009), a film released on September 17, 2009 whose allusions to AWAY FROM HER affirmed that it was addressing Polley on one level.
As for Polley, she fittingly applied the Toronto school of indie docufeature film art to Toronto when the cold, white and skeletal tree filled minimalist winterscape of the Brantford, Ontario area of AWAY FROM HER was replaced by the hot, colourful and lush kaleidoscope of summer in Toronto when Polley added a co-producer hat to her writer/director hats and returned with composer Jonathan Goldsmith and director of photography Luc Montpellier from AWAY FROM HER with the daylit, allegorical and slightly CGI enhanced indie docufeature film TAKE THIS WALTZ (2011), released on September 10, 2011.
Indeed, a hot, daylit and colourful summer spirit immediately suffused the screen as a short, attractive, elfin, barefoot, unnamed and SCC resembling and implicitly linked young woman in a red, white and true t-shirt and blue jean cutoff shorts-played by Michelle Williams-baked muffins in a warm and wood panelled kitchen filled with summer sunshine to the ironically and wistfully happy sound of the allegorical and Corinna Rose written Corinna Rose and the Rusty Horse Band tune “Green Mountain State” (2008), a hot, daylit and colourful spirit that remained for the rest of the film. Then it was off to equally hot, daylit and summery Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, where the same short and elfin young woman, who turned out to be a writer named Margot ironically lashed an Evil adulterer-played by A.I. Smithee-and met the young Lucas resembling and implicitly linked tourist Daniel-played by the fittingly named Luke Kirby. Curiously, on the way home from Canada’s ocean playground, Daniel and Margot sat next to each other on the plane back to Toronto and warmed up to each other enough that they shared a taxi back to their respective homes, where they discovered to their shocked amazement that they lived across the street from each other but had never noticed each other.
Just as curiously, this close proximity to each other led to Margot slowly abandoning her unfulfilling and implicitly Kelly linked “chicken” husband Lou-literally chicken, as he spent the film working on a cookbook for chicken dishes, and played by Seth Rogen, who fittingly and literally linked Lou to Kelly via his character Ricky Danforth in the twilit, allegorical, slightly CGI enhanced, Ozian themed and implicitly Lucas roasting Kelly indie docufeature film DONNIE DARKO (2001)-over the course of the film in favour of a more fulfilling and exuberantly adulterous relationship with the professional artist Daniel and finally leaving Lou for Dan, in the end. Thus, Polley implied that with all of his faults, faults which she had implicitly lamented in AWAY FROM HER, Polley still believed that SCC should prefer and support Lucas and his film art to that of Kelly. Indeed, the film’s allusions to DONNIE DARKO, SOUTHLAND TALES and THE BOX affirmed the implicit link of Lou to Kelly, while the film’s allusions to the twilit, allegorical, slightly CGI enhanced, Ozian themed and implicitly Lucas roasting SCC indie docufeature films LOST IN TRANSLATION (2003), MARIE ANTOINETTE (2006) and SOMEWHERE (2009) affirmed the implicit link of Margot to SCC.
Significantly, the happy and liberated ending that saw Margot riding an amusement ride by herself to the tune of the allegorical and Geoff Downes, Trevor Horne and Bruce Woolley written Buggles tune “Video Killed The Radio Star” (1979) also implied that Polley was equally eager to head off into her own daylit indie docufeature film path, as 1979, the year of the release of “Video Killed The Radio Star”, was also the year of her birth. Thus, it was fitting that Rogen was one of the many Canadian film artists who had been seduced by Hollywood and lured south to serve the insatiable and loot lusting CGI enhanced blockbuster beast, making Margot’s choice to leave Lou for Daniel at the end of TAKE THIS WALTZ implicitly symbolize Polley’s determination to leave behind Hollywood as much as the Zone Wars in her daylit indie docufeature film art. A brave new millenium of daylit and idiosyncratic indie film art would be openly and unabashedly Canadian as well as Torontonian, a dual commitment seen in the beautifully shot Toronto locations-shots which somehow managed to avoid the ubiquitous CN Tower in the background!-and heard in the classic pop songs featured on the film’s soundtrack like the twilit, allegorical and Billy Bryans, Lauri Conger, Lynne Fernie, Lorraine Segato and Steve Webster written Parachute Club tune “Rise Up” (1983) and the twilit and allegorical Leonard Cohen tune “Take This Waltz” (1986) from which took its title did TAKE THIS WALTZ, reminding us of the importance of the allegorical and Neil Young written and performed tune “Harvest Moon” (1992) to AWAY FROM HER.
The red and white Maple Leaf flag evoking track suit jackets, t-shirts and summer dresses that Margot liked to wear, the blue and white Toronto flag evoking sleeveless flower print blouse she wore as she rode the amusement ride in the end and the fact that Margot’s name evoked Canadian actress Margot Kidder, perhaps best known for her role as Lois Lane in the SUPERMAN films of the Eighties, reaffirmed Polley’s implicit dual commitment to Canadian and Torontonian indie docufeature film art. Indeed, in some ways TAKE THIS WALTZ came across as a fitting female and full colour reply to such black and white male classics as the allegorical Don Owen indie docufeature film NOBODY WAVED GOODBYE (1964) and the equally classic, allegorical and implicitly Lucas and Francis Coppola addressing Don Shebib indie docufeature film GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD (1970). Significantly, Margot’s link to super satirical film art soon became fitting, for the following year Columbia Pictures and Marvel implicitly linked Polley to the beautiful, brainy, sweet and steely blonde Midtown Science High School (MSHS) student Gwendolyne Maxine “Gwen” Stacy-inspired by a played by Emma Stone-the new girlfriend of the implicitly Cronenberg linked and radioactive CGI spider powered fellow MSHS student Peter “Spider-Man” Parker-played by Andrew Garfield-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Marc Webb super satirical animaction film THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2012), released on June 13, 2012 and inspired by characters created by Kirby, Lee and Sweet Steve Ditko for Marvel Comics.
“The antidote is cookin’, dude.
Curiously, Gwen and Pete teamed up to defeat the misanthropic, out of control and implicitly Cameron linked Oscorp researcher Doctor Curtis “Curt” Connor aka “the Lizard”-played by Rhys Ifans-and save the citizens of New York at the end of the film. And so Columbia, Marv and the fittingly surnamed Webb implied their hope that the indie and mostly CGI free docufeature film art of Cronenberg and Polley would triumph over that of the more CGI enhanced film art of Cameron, an ironic implicit hope indeed given that it was being made in a beastly CGI enhanced blockbuster film. Indeed, the film’s allusions to TAKE THIS WALTZ affirmed its implicit interest in Polley on one level, the film’s allusions to the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Cameron indie animaction Zonebuster AVATAR (2009) affirmed its interest in Cameron on another level, and the film’s allusions to the twilit and allegorical Cronenberg indie docufeature films THE BROOD (1979) and THE FLY (1986) affirmed its implicit interest in Cronenberg on a third level. Thus, it was also fitting that Polley had a small role as Merle in the twilit, allegorical and implicitly Bigelow addressing Cronenberg indie docufeature film eXistenZ (1999), which openly linked Polley to Cronenberg and allowed her to experience Cronenberg’s unique omnisexual approach to the Toronto school of indie docufeature film art.
Ironically, soon after the Webbhead film, Polley openly affirmed that she was leaving behind all other film artists and heading off on her own daylit and unique Canadian/Torontonian indie film art path when she literally left behind all other film artists and headed off on her own daylit and unique Canadian/Torontonian indie film art path when she donned the writer/director hats and returned with Goldsmith, TAKE THIS WALTZ costume designer Lea Carlson-now back as production designer-more exuberant adultery and more meditations on the year of her birth in the entirely daylit, allegorical and CGI enhanced indie docufeature film STORIES WE TELL (2012), a film released on August 30, 2012 and fittingly made with the National Film Board, given that the NFB helped give birth to the Toronto school of indie docufeature film art by overseeing the creation of NOBODY WAVED GOODBYE.
“A truth like that opens up,
kind of begets other truths.”
Curiously, after an unknown male narrator and co-writer of the film-who turned out to be Polley’s step-father Michael “Mick” Polley-quoted perhaps the opening lines of the twilit and allegorical Margaret Atwood novel Alias Grace (1996), the Polley family gathered individually in their respective houses and the opening titles played to the sound of the allegorical and Justin Verson written Bon Iver song “Skinny Love” (2007). Then the film became a mixture of contemporary interviews with the Polley family and some family friends, grainy home movies and dramatized scenes of the Polley family life shot in the same grainy 8mm film of the home movies, all of which revolved around individual stories all of the family members and friends had to tell about Polley’s deceased mother, the beautiful, beguiling, exuberant, vivacious and acting luving Diane who haunted the film in grainy home movies like the memory of the beautiful, young and blonde Fiona haunted Grant in grainy memories, a link to AWAY FROM HER that brought the first three films of Polley full circle in a triangular kinda way. Curiously, along the way Polley turned the camera on her and her family behind the scenes so often the film was also an interrogation of the making of the indie docufeature film as much as an interrogation of the mystery of Diane Polley. In fact, since she also turned the cameras on the making of the spoof home movies, it was also an interrogation of the making of indie docufeature films.
Just as curiously, this time the adultery in a Polley film was real and had a huge impact on the life of Polley. For over the course of STORIES WE TELL, a film as haunted by memories as AWAY FROM HER and BLADE RUNNER, we discovered that Diane became so increasingly frustrated by the fact that her husband Mick-who had a cameo as an artillery gunner in THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN-gave up his acting career to work as an insurance salesman to pay for the growing Polley family that she had an adulterous fling with Montreal film producer Harry Gulkin while acting in Montreal in the allegorical David Fennario play TORONTO (1978), an adulterous fling with the Albert Einstein resembling Gulkin that led to the unexpected birth of Polley, perhaps explaining her obsession with adultery and why she was as brainy as she was beautiful.
Of course, the bored and art loving married woman and the adulterous relationship of Diane and Harry recalled the bored and art loving Margot and the adulterous relationship of Margot and Daniel in TAKE THIS WALTZ, linking all three films together-indeed, in many ways STORIES WE TELL came across as a real life remake of TAKE THIS WALTZ. In fact, the actors who played Diane, Mick and Harry-the curiously Stone resembling Rebecca Jenkins, Peter Evans and Alex Hatz, respectively-in the film’s enacted scenes even looked like Margot, Daniel and Lou in re-enacted home movie clips, affirming the link between STORIES WE TELL and TAKE THIS WALTZ. The real and re-enacted home movie clips and the documentary interviews also not only linked Diane, Harry, Mick, Sarah, the rest of the members of the Polley family and family friends interviewed for the film to film art, but made them implicit embodied symbols of film art. Thus, the death of the exuberant and high spirited Diane to cancer in 1990 was more than the death of the mother of Polley. Indeed, the death of Diane also implicitly symbolized the death of film art, evoking the twilight shadow that fell over film art after the TZ disaster and implying that Polley used STORIES WE TELL to address the dread allegorical Zone Wars on one level. And perhaps my website, as the arrival out of nowhere of the mysterious Harry Gulkin in Polley’s life evoked my Zone War website appearing out of nowhere in 2010.
Indeed, as if to affirm an implicit link between Gulkin and the poor ol’ Gardevil, it was noticeable that the first name of Harry evoked Gary and that the surname of Gulkin had the same six letters of Wright. And that Diane divorced her first eminently respectable but fantastically dull husband, George Spafford Deans-Buchan, in 1967, the year I was born. As such, one wondered how much significance one should put in the sight and sound of Polley concernedly warning Gulkin not to release his side of the story too quickly and without sound and thoughtful editorial collaboration, as if Polley had tried to read some of the stuff on my site and been horrified by the incoherent shape the Lucas chapters and Zonebuster essays were in at the time and was gently urging the poor ol’ Gardevil to be a little more careful and patient before releasing his “scholarship” on the web, for fear of embarrassing Canadians, the rest of the citizens of the United Nations of Earth, and any other denizens of the galaxy-like the lonesome and embattled but determined and persevering survivors of the doomed planet of Krypton. Thus, it was fitting that Mark Polley, one of Sarah’s two brothers, resembled Superman, curiously evoking Margot’s evocation of the SUPERMAN films of the Eighties in TAKE THIS WALTZ.
Significantly, Bigelow also returned to the Temple Theatre at the end of that year and implicitly linked Polley to the beautiful, brainy, strong and steely CIA Agent Maya-played by Jessica Chastain-who led the successful hunt for the implicitly Landis linked Osama Bin Laden-played by Ricky Sekhon-whose death implied the hope of Bigelow that Polley would indeed be the film artist to finally end the dread allegorical Zone Wars and kick off a whole neo eon of sunlit film art in her typically fearless, twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced indie docufeature artbuster ZERO DARK THIRTY (2012), released on December 10, 2012. Then Disney and Sam Raimi kicked off the new film year by implicitly linking Polley to Glinda the Good-fittingly played by Williams-and having her team up with the implicitly Lucas linked Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle Emmanuel Ambroise Diggs aka “the Great Oz”-played by James Franco-to free the land of Oz by defeating the first Wicked Witch of the West, the implicitly Bigelow linked Evanora-played by Rachel Weisz-and then scaring off the second Wicked Witch of the West, the implicitly SCC linked Theodora-played by Mila Kunis-at the end of the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced animaction film OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL (2013), a film released on February 14, 2013 inspired by characters and a world created by L. Frank Baum whose implicit interest in Lucas on one level was affirmed by the film’s many allusions to the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy and the STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy.
As for Webb, he again implicitly linked Polley to Gwen Stacy-played again by Stone-opposite the implicitly Cronenberg linked Peter “Spider-Man” Parker-played again by Garfield-and had them both take on take out the perhaps Tim Story linked Max “Electro” Dillon and the perhaps Wes Anderson linked Harry “the Green Goblin” Osborn-played by Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan, respectively-at the end of the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Webb super satirical animaction film THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (2014), released on April 10, 2014. Significantly, while Parker survived the super struggle, the film ended with Stacy falling to her doom, implying that Columbia, Marv and Webb were worried that Polley’s small films would not allow her to succeed in the new CGI enhanced age like Cronenberg or that Polley would succumb to a temptation to make CGI enhanced blockbuster beasts for Disney perhaps that would kill her indie docufeature film art career. An implication that made it ironically fitting that the following year Dis reaffirmed their fondness for the film artist who had started her film career with the Mouse House in ONE MAGIC CHRISTMAS by teaming up with Kenneth Branagh to implicitly link Polley to Cinderella aka “Ella”-played by Alana Smithee as a baby, Eloise Webb as a girl, and Lily James as a teen, respectively-in the daylit, allegorical and CGI enhanced docufeature film CINDERELLA (2015), released on February 13, 2015.
“Once upon a time...”
How fitting that the familiar CGI enhanced Disney Magic Kingdom logo transformed from an enchanted and firework bursting evening into a beautiful sunny day. For the death of Ella’s equally beautiful, luving, vivacious and curiously Sophie Trudeau resembling blonde mother-played by Hayley Atwell-at the beginning of the film evoked the death of Polley’s equally beautiful and vivacious blonde mother, immediately affirming the implicit Polley addressing intent of CINDERELLA. Ella’s equally luving, curiously Justin Trudeau resembling and implicitly Mick linked father-played by Ben Chaplin-reaffirmed the implicit Polley addressing intent of the film. In addition, Ella’s Wicked and implicitly SCC linked Stepmother, Lady Tremaine-played by Cate Blanchett-also evoked the succession of Wicked “stepmothers” that plagued the Polley home after the separation of Mick and Diane. Thus, as Ella triumphed over her Wicked Stepmother and wooed the handsome, charming and implicitly Lucas linked Prince-played by Richard Madden-away from the implicitly Cameron linked King-played by Derek Jacobi-and his equally Wicked and implicitly Sir Scott linked major domo the Grand Duke-played by Stellan Skarsgard-with the help of a blonde, singing and perhaps Pamela A. Lee linked Faerie Godmother-played by Helena B. Carter-Branagh and Disney implicitly hoped that Polley would one day triumph over Wicked doubts, Cameron, SCC and Sir Scott with a hit film, an implicit hope affirmed by the film’s allusions to MARIE ANTOINETTE, STORIES WE TELL, TAKE THIS WALTZ and the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Cameron indie docufeature Zonebuster TITANIC (1997). The resemblance and implicit link of Ella’s Wicked stepsister Anastasia-played by Holliday Grainger-to Drew Barrymore-and her other Wicked stepsister Drisella-played by Sophie McShera-to Reese Witherspoon also implied that Branagh and Dis were hoping that Polley would triumph over Barrymore and Witherspoon with a good film, as well.
Then it became even more fitting that it was revealed in STORIES WE TELL that Diane hid the fact that Harry was the father of Sarah from Mick after the birth of Polley so as to avoid another scandalous divorce, only too well aware that her first adulterous relationship with Mick had broken up her first marriage to Deans-Buchan, who the internet revealed died in his cottage on Presqui’le Point in 2005 not far from some of my relatives in the nearby town of Brighton. For hiding Polley’s secret identity reminded us that the human Kent and Danvers families hid the secret Kryptonian identities of Kal-El and his female cousin Kara Zor-El from the world in the allegorical and super satirical narrative art adventures of Superman and Supergirl. All of which implicitly inspired telefilm artists to liberate Polley from the implicit damsel in distress status she was relegated to in THE AMAZING SPIIDER-MAN and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 and send the Polley resembling and implicitly linked beautiful, brainy, sweet and steely blonde Kara “Supergirl” Zor-El Danvers-played by Malina Weissman as a teen and Melissa Benoist as a young adult, respectively-from the doomed planet of Krypton and up, up and away for high flying and super powered adventures on her adopted planet of Earth in the daylit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical animaction telefilm series SUPERGIRL (2015-2021), a series inspired by characters created by Oracular Otto Binder, Amiable Al Plastino, Garrulous Gerry Siegel and Joltin’ Joe Shuster for DC Comics whose first episode, the daylit, allegorical and imaginatively named Glen Winter telefilm “Pilot” (2015), first appeared on tv on October 26, 2015.
“Be wise, be strong,
and always be true to yourself.”
Daylit and CGI enhanced indeed, for the pilot began with a CGI sun rising over the doomed CGI planet of Krypton, immediately establishing the daylit spirit of the series. A daylit spirit that returned and never left after young Kara Zor-El’s parents Zor-El and the alluring and Bigelow resembling and implicitly linked Alura Zor-El-played by Robert Gant and Laura Benanti, respectively, who also played Alura’s Evil twin General Astra Zor-El in the series-packed her off in a one person spaceship to Earth to watch over her cousin Kal-El. For after finally escaping from the timeless and eerie Phantom Zone, a beautiful sunny day greeted Kara when she stepped out of her spaceship after it crash landed on Earth. Here Kara was met by Kal-El-played by Kevin Caliber-who dropped her off with her new scientist step-parents Doctors Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers-played by Dean Cain and Helen Slater, respectively, the latter of whom not only resembled Fiona in AWAY FROM HER but played Kara/Supergirl herself in the twilit, allegorical and implicitly Spielberg roasting Jeannot Szwarc docufeature film SUPERGIRL (1984)-and her new step-sister Alexandra “Alex” Danvers-played by Jordana Taylor-as a youth.
Fittingly, the exuberantly daylit and sundrenched spirit of the series continued when the series jumped ahead in time to the sight and sound of the young adult Kara walking through the crowded and daylit morning sidewalks of National City to her job at CatCo World Wide Media. Here at CatCo we immediately met Kara’s ironically luving and implicitly Kelly linked IT colleague Winston “Winn” Schott-played by Jeremy Jordan-and discovered that Danvers was the lovelorn secretary/personal assistant/gopher/ego massager of CatCo’s smart, shrewd, sexy, commanding and intimidating CEO Catherine “Cat” Grant-memorably played by Calista Flockhart-reminding us that Polley was linked to the equally lovelorn Page, secretary of Murdock, in DAREDEVIL. Significantly, Grant resembled the fittingly surnamed Polley family friend Pixie Bigelow, one of the storytellers of STORIES WE TELL, affirming the implicit link of Danvers to Polley. The implicit link of Kara to Sarah was soon reaffirmed by the arrival of her equally young adult adoptive sister, the Department of Extranormal Operations (DEO) Agent Alex Danvers-played by Chyler Leigh-for the older Alex resembled Polley’s sister Susy and Gulkin’s friend Marie Murphy, two of the other storytellers in STORIES WE TELL.
Significantly, soon after meeting these significant and implicitly Polley linked characters in her life, Danvers rescued Agent Alex and the rest of the relieved passengers of National City Airlines Flight 237 when the beleaguered plane fell out of the sky above National City after it experienced engine trouble on the way to Geneva, Switzerland. Of course, NCA Flight 237 reminded us that the TZ disaster took place on July 23, 1982, implicitly affirming that Danvers and the series were leaving behind the TZ disaster and the twilit and dread allegorical Zone Wars and soaring exuberantly off into a refreshingly and rejuvenatingly daylit and sunswept new millennium of daylit film and telefilm art like Polley. A daylit implication reaffirmed when Supergirl ended the pilot telefilm by teaming up with the DEO to defeat the tall, commanding, nefarious, escaped and implicitly Cameron linked Krypton criminal Vartox-played by Owain Yeoman-a triumph that openly linked Supergirl to Ontario born and raised Canadian film artists like Cameron and Polley and implicitly reaffirmed that the creators of SUPERGIRL wanted to head off in a daylit new direction.
The arrival in episode three of season one of the implicitly SCC linked Lucy Lane-played by Jenna Dewan, a mixed race actress who reminded us that SCC was an American of Anglo-Italian [or was that Italo-Irish?] descent-and in episode six of season one of her father the implicitly Lucas linked General Samuel “Sam” Lane-played by Glenn Morshower-reaffirmed the implicit link of Kara to Sarah. The arrival in episode one of season two of Katie McGrath in a recurring role as Lena Luthor also affirmed the implication that Kara was linked to Sarah, as Luthor resembled Veronica, Anderson’s first exuberant adulterous fling in AWAY FROM HER. The arrival in episode two of the first season of the brilliant, callous, self absorbed, duplicitous and Justin Trudeau resembling and implicitly linked Lord Technologies CEO Maxwell Lord-played by Peter Facinelli-reaffirmed the implicit interest of the series in Canada and its film art, film artists and film “scholars”. The appearances of Tyler Hoechlin in a recurring role as the Dan Levy resembling Clark/Kal-El “Superman” Kent and Chris Wood in a recurring role as the Ryan Reynolds resembling Daxamite, Mon-El, also affirmed the implicit interest in Canada and its film and telefilm artists in SUPERGIRL.
Supergirl’s triumph in the allegorical Kevin Tancharoen season one episode five telefilm “Livewire” (2015) over the supervillainess Leslie “Livewire” Willis-played by Brit Morgan-who resembled ex-Toronto chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat reaffirmed the implicit Canadian theme of SUPERGIRL and the implicit link of Kara’s hometown of National City to Toronto despite the fact that season one was filmed in L.A. Indeed, the fact that the second season of SUPERGIRL was created in locations around the Greater Vancouver Area-including the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library-openly linked the series to Canada. The expressed fondness of various characters in season one for Margaret Atwood, the twilit, allegorical and Ozian themed Reitman docufeature film GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) and the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and perhaps Gardevil addressing telefilm series ORPHAN BLACK (2013-17) also affirmed the film’s interest in Canada and its film and telefilm art, film and telefilm artists and literary artists. The allusions in the prologue of the season two episode six allegorical Larry Teng telefilm “Changing” (2016) to the eerily prescient, twilit and allegorical John Carpenter film THE THING (1982) reaffirmed the implicit interest of SUPERGIRL in Canada, as THE THING was also created in always beautiful British Columbia. Of course, alluding to THE THING also reaffirmed the implicit interest in the series in the TZ disaster, as THE THING was released in early July of ’82.
Indeed, the sight and sound of Supergirl preventing Flight 237 from crashing in her first super exploit in the pilot episode and the sight and sound of Supergirl rescuing Willis in her spinning out of control helicopter after lightning took out the chopper’s rear rotor in “Livewire” before another lightning strike turned Willis into the gleefully insidious Livewire openly affirmed the implication that the series and its CGI were triumphing over the TZ disaster on one level. Thus, Supergirl’s determination to defeat Evildoers and maintain peace and harmony in her adopted city of National City implicitly symbolized the determination of Polley to defeat twilit film artists-particularly those most responsible for the TZ disaster-and kick off a daylit new millennium of indie docufeature film art, an ironic implication indeed given that Polley avoided excessive CGI enhancement and witless nonsense in her film art. Last but not least, the ironic arrival of the huge, nasty and implicitly Donald Trump linked alien “lady-beast”-played by Troy Brenna-that was fittingly taken on and taken out by Supergirl after escaping from DEO imprisonment at the beginning of “Livewire”, fittingly but ironically released on November 16, 2015 given that Trump won the election that year unless the thrashing the lady-beast received was an implicit warning to Trump to expect a rocky four years, also implicitly reaffirmed that the series would not shy away from implicit exuberant roasts of political figures like Trump and Trudeau.
Curiously, not long after the appearance of SUPERGIRL, Angelina Jolie implied that the jealousy that the unhappy and implicitly Jolie linked Hollywood star Vanessa-fittingly played by Jolie-felt for the happiness of the implicitly Polley linked Lea-played by Melanie Laurent-symbolized the jealousy Jolie felt for the greater success Polley had achieved as a director in the ironically and bitterly daylit, allegorical and slightly CGI enhanced indie docufeature film BY THE SEA (2015), released on November 5, 2015. As for Haifaa Al-Mansour, he implicitly linked Elle Fanning’s Mary Shelley to Sarah Polley in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced indie docufeature film MARY SHELLEY (2017), released on September 9, 2017. For her part, Polley donned the co-producer/co-executive producer/writer hats and teamed up with Atwood, Cronenberg, John Buchan-casting director of her films and now back as casting director and co-executive producer-D.J. Carson-line producer of TAKE THIS WALTZ-the Canadian Broadcast Corporation and Netflix and implicitly applied the Toronto school of indie docufeature film art to television and to nineteenth century Toronto and environs and fused her daylit spirit with the twilit spirit of Mary Harron in the twilit, allegorical and slightly CGI enhanced Harron indie docufeature telefilm series ALIAS GRACE (2017), which first appeared on tv on November 3, 2017 and which was inspired by real events and by Alias Grace.
“I think of all the things
that have been written about me.
That I am an inhuman female demon…
That I am cunning and devious.
That I am soft in the head,
and little better than an idiot.”
Significantly, the first episode began with lines from a haunting poem by Emily Dickinson followed by a dreamy opening titles sequence that evoked that of THE WEIGHT OF WATER filled with lurid period illustrations and woodcuts, preparing us for the arrival of another possible murderess implicitly linked to Canadian indie docufeature film art. Then ALIAS GRACE began at Kingston Penitentiary in 1859 with the sight and sound of a female prisoner who turned out to be an Anglo-Irish Protestant immigrant and accused murderess named Grace Marks-played by Cronenberg find Sarah Gadon, whose cameo as Kari in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 implicitly affirmed the implicit link of Cronenberg to Spider-Man in that film-being taken from the prison to the nearby house of the Governor to work as a maid by two guards-played by Jonathan Koensgen and John Tench, respectively.
Soon a young doctor specializing in mental problems named Simon Jordan-implicitly linked to Kelly as he was always a part of the allusions to DONNIE DARKO, SOUTHLAND TALES and THE BOX when they appeared in the series, and played by Edward Holcroft-showed up at the prison to coax the story of Marks out of her in her twilit cell, a dark story as elusive as that of Maren Hontredt in THE WEIGHT OF WATER. A dark and troubled story that also ended in brutal and bloody murder as in THE WEIGHT OF WATER, in this case the brutal and bloody murder on the twilit date of July 18, 1843 of the last employer of Marks, the possibly Landis linked Scottish gentleman Thomas Kinnear-played by Paul Gross-and his housekeeper, the possibly Deborah Landis linked Nancy Montgomery-played by Anna Paquin, who linked the film to CGI enhanced super satirical animaction films via her role as Anna Marie aka “Rogue” in the X-MEN films-at their secluded house in Richmond Hill. However, while it was apparent by the end of THE WEIGHT OF WATER that Maren Hontredt was the murderer of two women also implicitly linked to blockbuster CGI enhanced beasts, it was never clear if the disgruntled Marks or the even more disgruntled hired hand James McDermott-played by Kerr Logan-really killed Kinnear and Montgomery. Curiously, the judge-played by Murray Oliver-who sentenced McDermott to death and Marks to life imprisonment also implicitly linked the establishment to CGI enhanced super satirical animaction films like Montgomery, for he resembled and was implicitly linked to Joss Whedon, director of the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical animaction films MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS (2012) and AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015).
Given that Marks struck up a friendship with the Jason Reitman resembling and implicitly linked and United States luving wandering peddler/conjurer/fortune teller/hypnotist Jeremiah Pontelli aka Dr. Jerome Dupont-played by Zachary Levi-there was also a possibility that Marks was linked to the poor ol’ Gardevil, in which case ALIAS GRACE was another salvo in that lamentable sub-genre of the dread allegorical Zone Wars known regretfully as “Cinema Garite”. If so, the sight and sound of Marks having her life sentence pardoned in 1872 by new Canadian Prime Minister John A. MacDonald and leaving her twilit cell after almost thirty years in Kingston Penitentiary and stepping out into the rejuvenating daylight a free woman, in the end, implied the hope of Atwood, Cronenberg, Harron and Polley that Wright would not only leave the twilit Zone Wars behind at some point and head down a new path in a daylit world but also not be condemned for his Zone War “insights” by society and be ultimately embraced by that savage, duplicitous and hypocritical society. One thing was sure, and that Marks was always linked to indie film art in general and the Toronto school of indie docufeature film art in particular, making it fitting that Gadon had worked often with Cronenberg father and son and that Cronenberg played the sympathetic Reverend Verringer and worked patiently and steadfastly to secure a pardon and freedom for Marks. Allowing Marks to devote herself to indie quilt artistry, a mastery of which openly linked her to indie artistry.
And so Susanna Fogel also implicitly linked SCC and Polley to ordinary friends Audrey and Morgan-played by Kunis and Katie McKinnon, respectively-forced them into extraordinary spy jinks and had them take on and take out the creepy and implicitly Gardevil linked Russian assassin Nadedja-played by Ivanna Sakhno-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced film THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME (2018), released on July 25, 2018. And so Disney reaffirmed their fondness for the actress who had started her film art career with ONE MAGIC CHRISTMAS by teaming up with Marvel, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and implicitly linking Polley to the indomitable Kree Starforce Warrior Carol “Vers” Danvers aka “Captain Marvel”-played by London Fuller at age six, McKenna Grace at age thirteen, and Brie Larson as an adult, respectively-and Munro to the mysterious Doctor Wendy Lawson aka Mar-Vell-played by Annette Bening-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical animaction film CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019), released on February 27, 2019 and inspired by a character created by Genial Gene Colan and Rowdy Roy Thomas for Marvel Comics. And so Dis, Marv and Anthony and Joseph Russo implicitly linked Polley to Captain Marvel-played again by Larson-and had her team up with the implicitly Lucas linked Doctor Bruce “the Incredible Hulk” Banner-inspired by a character created by Kirby and Lee for Marvel Comics, and played by Mark Ruffalo-the implicitly Reitman linked Tony “Iron Man” Stark-inspired by a character created by Kirby, Lee, Doughty Don Heck and Laughin’ Larry Lieber for Marvel Comics, and played by Downey jr.-and the implicitly Wright linked Peter “Spider-Man” Parker-played by Tom Holland-and the rest of the assemblin’ and dissemblin’ superheroes and superheroines to desperately battle and finally defeat the implicitly Michael Eisner linked mad Titan, Thanos-inspired by a character created by Jovial Jim Starlin for Marvel Comics, and played by Josh Brolin-to implicitly end the Eisner Era (EE) and kick off the Iger Era (IE) of Disney at the end of the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical animaction film AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019), released on April 22, 2019.
And so these titanic CGI enhanced super satirical animaction films were in ironic and tragicomic contrast to the smaller, less expensive, more intimate, thoughtful, mature and substantial indie docufeature film and telefilm art of Polley. And so in good hands to the relief of Cronenberg was the Toronto school of indie docufeature film and telefilm art. And so influencing and inspiring other film and telefilm artists in general and Canadian film and telefilm artists in particular and leading the world with exuberantly adulterous, unadulteratedly exuberant and daylit film art was the beautiful, brainy, sweet and steely blonde Polley, leading to a new hope that one day join her would all who luvved film art in the liberating and rejuvenating sunshine of…Polleywood.
Polley, Sarah. Foreword to Away From Her by Alice Munro
(Penguin Canada, 2006).