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Sponsored by: Telefilm Canada

World Premiere

  • Canada 2010
  • 103 min
  • HD
  • English
Hosted by writer/director Chad Archibald and members of the cast



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Director: Chad Archibald
Screenplay: Chad Archibald
Cast: Ryan Barrett, Emily Alatalo, Jennifer Polansky, Samuel S Bornstein, 
Patricia Bal
Producers: Cody Calahan, Patrick McBrearty, Chad Archibald
Print Source: Raven Banner

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Camera Lucida   

Camera Lucida



One of the most tightly scripted and boldly designed Canadian genre films since Vincenzo Natali’s CUBE (1997), NEVERLOST follows the psychic meltdown of sleep-deprived, depressive, thirty-something failed scriptwriter Josh Higgins, spiraling into matrimonial hell with his embittered wife of two years, Megan. The young couple struggle to co-exist in a poisoned climate of frayed nerves, resentment and incommunicability. Think the couple in last year’s Fantasia presentation COMBAT SHOCK (Buddy Giovinazzo, 1986), minus the monster baby, and with a little less apartment squalour. To cure his insomnia, Josh convinces his doctor to prescribe some sleeping pills. Josh soon becomes addicted to the little blue pills, not so much for the sleep but for the euphoric dream fantasies that they induce, which stand in stark contrast to his drab reality. The central focus of his fantasy is former college sweetheart Kate, whose angelic appearance sends him into a perennial state of swoon. A sinister father figure enters his fantasy world to cast further doubt on Josh’s past relationship with Kate. Before long the lines between reality and fantasy, past and present, truth and delusion are blurred for both Josh and the entranced viewer.

NEVERLOST seduces its viewer with a concoction that is equal parts urban noir and modern romance. Writer/director Chad Archibald channels two formidable cinematic influences, Darren Aronofsky’s REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (the theme of addiction, borrowed music cues, body-cam camera, drug-induced visions) and David Lynch’s LOST HIGHWAY (the use of doublings, reality vs. fantasy existence, choice of settings), yet comes up with a film that is unique in its successful blend of differing emotions and tones, charting a forking path from dark comedy (the relationship between Josh and his wife Megan) to romance (the relationship between Josh and Kate) to noir (Josh versus his personal demons), and ending with genuine pathos. NEVERLOST’s precise script and complex visual design rewards multiple viewings for the detailed synchronicity found within Josh Higgins’ co-existing states of reality and fantasy, with many subtle doublings, contrasts and reversals thematically echoed through characterization, colour, dialogue, camera style, gesture and action. Chad Archibald (whose company Black Fawn Films co-produced last year’s disturbing revenge tale, SWEET KARMA) offers up evidence in how what is essentially a revamped genre entry can also be a film about loss, regret, tragedy, loneliness and missed chances

—Donato Totaro

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