Director: Nicole Dorsey Run Time: 100 min. Format: DCP Rating: NR Release Year: 2019
Starring: Ella Ballentine, Ryan James McDonald, Olivia Scriven, Luke Bilyk
Special preview screening before the wide release. To make an additional $10 donation to The Future of Film is Female, select the “Event + Donation” ticket on the checkout screen.
Set in suburban Newfoundland in 1987, Nicole Dorsey’s debut feature is a dreamy account of two converging lives.
Fifteen-year-old Jackie (Ella Ballentine) is navigating the tricky transition between vulnerable adolescence and impending adulthood. The film opens with Jackie auditioning for her school choir with a gorgeous rendition of “Hey, Who Really Cares?”, by obscure early-’70s psychedelic folk singer Linda Perhacs. It’s a symbolic overture for a promising young woman from a broken home. Raised by her aunt and living under the cloud of all the disappointments endured by the women in her family, Jackie finds herself giving in to internal and external pressures — partying, skipping school, and hitchhiking — in search of her own identity. Her choices leave her speeding inevitably towards Dennis (Ryan McDonald), a socially inept loner with a volatile dark streak and delusional fantasies of adoring women at his beck and call.
Black Conflux is a vibrant and stunning debut, one that shies away from conventions common to small-town coming-of-age stories. Dorsey exhibits an inspiring cinematic style — both assured and mature — as she reflects on the past and her own experience. Exploring womanhood, isolation, and toxic masculinity, Black Conflux is a bracingly relevant narrative for today. – Ravi Srinivasan, TIFF 2019