Friday, June 20, 2008

And The Horses Became As Glue

The Tracey Fragments(2007)

Directed by Bruce Mcdonald

Wow. Like a manic depressive answer to "Run Lola Run". "The Tracey Fragments", is the story of 15 year old girl (Ellen Page), who is self described as "a normal teenage girl who hates herself", the movie is told mostly out of chronological order, but we open with images of Tracey riding a bus, wrapped in a curtain and looking out the windows in a blizzard, hating the world, and obsessed with finding her missing brother Sunny. Like the title says Tracey is fragmented, and visually this translates into everything in the film occurring on multiple screens at once. At first this smacks of art school excess but none of the juxtapositions are random, they really do highlight elements of Tracey's personality. Traumatized and delusional Tracey's life in one scene resembles the paneled grids of a comic book she reads, in another it resembles a trailer for an imagined film about her life, a music video with she and her rocker love interest (the Lou Reed looking "new boy" Billy Zero(real name Slim Twig)), in another a magazine diced up with future interviews. Aside from fantasizing Tracey mainly distorts her own trauma and problems (she is not a reliable narrator), the other kids at school both male and female are improbably hostile about Tracey's small breasts, because this is how Tracey feels rather than what her life is. Similarily Tracey's psychologist is an androgynous looking man in drag (in Tracey's mind, both Mother and Father figure, she later asks to movie in with in him). Of course, a lot of the Tracey Fragments is difficult to piece together because some vignettes seem completely delusional while others at least seem to bear the scars of realism.
Constantly showing events from a multiplicity of angles of highlights Tracey's self consciousness, always observing herself as she participates doubting everything, "how can anything be true if everything is in your head", she wonders at one point. Really this movie is little like "Run Lola Run", save they're both indie films, highly inventive in terms of script, editing, cinematography, and direction, and both have commanding lead actresses. The stylization is as exciting as the material is difficult, were poured straight into the mind of a unstable, angry,and terrified, teenage less sexed Kathy Acker heroin, raging with guilt.
(Spoiler in next paragraph) The films clearest moment Tracey finding her brothers hat near a snow bank in a simple wide shot, slowly lines like cracks in ice slowly appear up the screen dividing the image into multiple shots of the lake, as Tracey's mind literally fragments and looks away to avoid the obvious. The Tracey Fragments, is a tense psychological study, and bleak coming of age tale, highly and effectively stylized into something greater than the sum of it's parts. It's disturbing, tragic, but also a really unique film experience, and easily one of best films of 2007 .

1 comment:

arvillah said...

that bitch thinks she so damn cool