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Kazik Radwanski Anne at 13,000 ft Review


Anne at 13,000 Ft. | Review

Anne at 13,000 Ft. | Review

Cyclo Maladroit: Social Safety Nets Deployed in Radwanski’s Latest

Kazik Radwanski Anne at 13,000 ft ReviewA Canadian agit dramaturgist whose portraits can be described as deeply humanist, in his third feature film, Kazik Radwanski once again explores interdependency, while in the same, sometimes disorienting sans parachute motion, offers a supportive and honest psychological look at the socially dysfunctional, and the functions of society. Featuring filmmaker-actress Deragh Campbell in a memorably lackadaisical and lethargic titular protagonist who stumbles and picks herself up in equal measure; Anne at 13,000 Ft. is a fast-paced yet contemplative portrait that maintains a kinetic Cassavetes docu verve making for a kinder probe into neurosis.

Whether we inhabit her actual headspace or indeed, find ourselves high up in the stratosphere, when we first meet Anne we are, as the title suggests — not totally grounded. Whether she finds herself in instant mood swings – Radwanski adds an insular duality to this not yet 30-something.

We get a strong sense that relationships are harder to hold onto than jobs — but somehow we meet her at a juncture where she is adding victories to the personal win column. A supportive best friend (Dorothea Paas), a first apartment, a hook up that might pay out into a new beau (actor-filmmaker Matt Johnson) and a steady income via a proper day care gig. What is verboten and rigid is objectively met with her bullshit detector — but all the first instances of the film suggest that is takes a certain courage from the gut for this existence and, co-existence to not be all for nothing. Those near schizophrenic episodes are — not far behind.

Lensed in the type of handheld aesthetic that keeps the viewer in the protagonist’s emotional headspace (think Dardennesque but shot from the front) and workspace (Radwanski’s most recent short Scaffold adds layers of humanity along with plywood) the overall look favors naturalism. When the scene lingers, Campbell deftly dials up or down her character, and if you blink you might miss the sideways step from one emotional cue to the next — at times the fiction feels filter thru docu-realism.

A moody, verbal tussle between Anne and her colleague or playful episodes with non-professionals makes for an informative look into how her surroundings, social and professional safety nets somewhat contradict her non-life threatening decision making skills. But aside from Campbell’s fierceness, editor Ajla Odobašic (who also edited 2012’s Tower and 2015’s How Heavy This Hammer) provides flashbacks with a connective tissue — a disorientating toggle of her timeline at the onset will make viewers appreciate when we lean back into familiar backdrops.

While paper-thin (there doesn’t appear to be more to move with the character beyond the micro aggressions) the economical runtime might underwhelm and some loose ends in relationships make this a lighter dramatic meal sans cathartic release, but the compact runtime drives the if-I-turn-left-or-right life choices feel instantly regrettable or remarkably more assertive than how it may work for normal folk. Minimalist, and wearing its complex heart on its sleeve, Anne at 13,000 Ft. is most rewarding for those who jump in without a parachute.

Reviewed on September 8th at the 2019 Toronto Intl. Film Festival – Platform programme. 75mins.


Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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