April 14, 2010, By Paul Pritchard
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
A woman who cannot hear is stalked.
Country: USA, Released: 2009 Running Time: 71 minutes Drama, Thriller
The synopsis I saw for Lexie Cannes presents the film as a thriller in which the eponymous heroine finds herself stalked by two men, one relatively harmless, the other much less so. This description is accurate as far as it goes, but it does undersell a film that has a much broader scope than this.
More a drama than a thriller, the film is primarily a study of the character of Lexie Cannes herself, and what a character she is. Lexie is a deaf, transsexual woman building a life for herself as a photographer in Oregon. She has some relationship problems, a broadening circle of friends, a desire to put her past behind her and a strong urge to help when she encounters people in trouble. There are many layers to her personality but what shines through most strongly is Lexie’s essential humanity. While her specific circumstances will be unfamiliar to most, the core tale of someone coming to terms with their past so they can build a future is one with which anyone can empathise.
It is to the credit of writer/director, Tom Bertling that he has managed to develop a character that faces such a specific set of circumstances in a manner that feels almost familiar to a general audience. Lexie Cannes is a complex, fascinating and very well rounded character and she is superbly brought to life by Courtney O’Donnell who, in the title role, does a great job of capturing the complexity of the character.
While the plot can feel a bit episodic in places, this is more than made up for by both the strength of the performances and the atmosphere the film achieves. Logically, for a film about a deaf person, there is no natural sound. What we have instead is a soundtrack that plays for the entirety of the film and which does an incredibly good job of capturing the mood of both the characters and the events in which they find themselves. Although there is some (signed) dialogue, this is essentially a silent film and one that demonstrates just how powerful this type of film can be.
Visually, the film is something unique. Much of it is shot at night and often viewed through a camera or camcorder lens and giving the film a grainy feel that effectively adds an air of uncertainty to otherwise familiar settings. This is especially effective when dealing with the stalker part of the plot.
Lexie Cannes is a very real and very compelling portrait of a woman determined to surmount the obstacles she finds before her and build a life with which she can be both comfortable and happy. The performances are strong throughout and these, combined with a strongly atmospheric soundtrack and visual style, make for a film that is a powerful and moving experience.”
Next film festival showing, March 31, 2012: https://lexiecannes.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/transgenderlesbiandeaf-film-lexie-cannes-to-show-in-seattle-march-31st-at-500-pm/
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