One of greatest advantages regarding Canadian cinema, which completely differentiates the international appeal compared to other countries, is how free our films usually are. Whether you like it or not, there’s something anarchist about the Canadian cinematic method, and the open plains of our very own comforting provinces, that makes each and every one of our films have a certain unapologetic Canadian feeling, regardless of how terrible or great the film may be. Straight out of film school, and ready to rock our national pride, writer/director Jasmin Mozaffari has arrived to further prove this statement with her latest Firecrackers, an emotionally draining yet ultimately satisfying tale of resilience, friendship, and the entrapment of our very own environment.
With a brilliant fluorescent color scheme, and raw performances from the majority of the mostly unknown, unfiltered cast, Mozaffari’s vision of the current state of the lower class in Ontario, both brilliantly encapsulates the chaos and hi-jinks of living in these very conditions. Although the location is never clearly labeled, the small detailed hints involving currency, location, and the general behavior and mannerisms of the Canadian spirit, give a sense of a grounded location, which both works thematically in terms of the enclosed environment of the characters, and the wonderfully colored atmosphere and landscapes featured in the film.
With all of it’s innovative artistic merit, the only aspect of the film in which it’s creative vulnerability was at stake, was through it’s narrative structure and perspective. Although the film works perfectly fine as is, telling a relatively compelling story that feels relevant and timely to the youth of today, there could have easily been an improvement in quality, if the filmmakers and writers decided to take more risks involving it’s structure.
The film revolves around the two leading ladies, Chantel and Lou, yet the film still feels oddly one sided, showing only one perspective of the drastic events taken place. There’s a certain amount of distance relating to the connection between viewer and film because of this. We want to know Chantal’s side of the story, alongside Lou’s perspective, in order to have a clear understanding of her emotional state of being, and the problematic situations in which her and Lou manage to get in to. This could have easily been fixed, if a couple of scenes were cut, and instead, the film being divided into two different parts. One showing Lou’s side of the story, a cut down version of what we already have, and Chantal’s side of the story, a deeply trenching take on the already emotionally draining material.
Gorgeously composed, and filled to the brim with plenty of depth and unique characterization, the only element really lacking in Firecrackers is it’s perspective and narrative structure. Within it’s commentary on relationships and the poetic downfall of long-lived friendships, there’s something unique about Firecrackers that makes it wholly Canadian. Something worthy of national celebration. Maybe it’s too early to say, but Jasmin Mozaffari is one to look out for, and may possibly become Canada’s newest rising star.
Firecrackers Is Now Playing In Select Canadian Cinemas