Cinematographer David Geddes’s exquisitely natural photography of a remote town in British Columbia becomes a silent character in its own right in the first feature from writer/director/producer Aubrey Nealon. Gorgeously and deceptively simple as the title implies, the film, which was nominated for fourteen awards (winning several) was an Official Selection at the Toronto International Film Festival and chosen for inclusion in America’s prestigious Film Movement Series. A Simple Curve introduces us to twenty-seven year old Caleb (a wonderful, understated Kris Lemche), the Canadian born son of American hippie draft dodger Jim (Michael Hogan) who has since joined his father in a fledgling, expensive carpentry business that’s beginning to suffer in the economic climate as luxury handcrafted items are being overlooked by furniture surplus stores and the woodworking trade is becoming as extinct as the fond hippie days that once defined the community. When an old wealthy American friend Matthew (Matt Craven) arrives, Caleb strikes up a secretive deal to try and get out of debt, thereby letting Caleb move out of the environment he’s grown to despise, without the inclusion of Jim until the past catches up with the three men. All of the actors are wonderful and subtle given their quiet turns in this powerful film, which would probably be overlooked by most audiences as it does take a little while to get into but the rewards are rich—it’s a refreshing look at the ways that one generation’s actions influence that of another and the way that behavior and values are filtered and shared as time goes on as the past is presented in an unromantic way, giving a new look at the usually revered hippie generation displayed in films like Easy Rider. One truly feels that Nealon, the son of a dodger himself, has made a vital, intensely personal film and it’s one of the most memorable offerings from Film Movement in the past several months, given a gorgeous transfer in its DVD release that manages to dazzle the senses with the lush cinematography by Geddes and love of storytelling by Nealon and his fine trio of actors.
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