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CANOPY

SYNOPSIS:
In wartime Singapore, an Australian fighter pilot, Jim (Khan Chittenden) shot down in combat, regains consciousness suspended by his parachute in the treetops. As night devours day and he navigates the dangerous jungle in search of sanctuary, he comes across Chinese freedom fighter Seng (Tzu-yi Mo); they don't share a common language, but they do share a common predicament.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Canopy ... starring Nic Buchanan and Rodney Lowe on sound design, in an attempt at the world record of manipulating a drama by copious sound. With virtually no dialogue, the film relies on the power of (almost entirely) continuous sound to combine with the images of jungle to not only create a sense of place but also of danger surrounding first one then both the characters.

The first one we meet is a young Aussie, obviously a pilot who chuted down; he hangs from a branch in the jungle canopy. A card has advised that this is February 1942, Singapore. The airman struggles through the mud and undergrowth, until he runs into another solo survivor, a young Chinese man.

The film goes to extreme lengths to bring us into their green but deadly world, as they avoid Japanese patrols (ranging from small platoons on foot to one on a push bike) and generally stumble about. And all the time, the distant thump of bombings and gunfire ... The threat is thus constantly there viscerally, of being found and captured or shot. The canopy is a safe haven.

Inevitably, but inexplicably and without a cinematic rationale, a Japanese shot hits home and the survival drama takes on a new urgency and the bonds of survival are further enforced.

Writer/director Aaron Wilson tries to show with cinematic flourish how human nature can respond under stress - by a generosity of spirit and humanity. The story, such as it is, finds a sombre resolution in keeping with the film's tone, but it still feels like a short film that is stretched out by a variety of devices, including long close ups and other fillers.

But to his credit, Wilson refuses to stick to conventions and challenges us to stay in the moment - and the film.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

CANOPY (M)
(Aust/Sing, 2013)

CAST: Khan Chittenden, Tzu-yi Mo

VOICES: Ryoichi Uchikoshi, Masaki Sato

PRODUCER: Katrina Fleming

DIRECTOR: Aaron Wilson

SCRIPT: Aaron Wilson

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stefan Discio

EDITOR: Cindy Clarkson

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Tim Burgin

OTHER: Nic Buchanan, Rodney Lowe (sound design)

RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Odin'e Eye

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 24, 2014







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