Dim the Fluorescents is smart and funny — and one of the most amazing, yet understated feminist films you’ll see this year.
Sometimes a busy schedule and a really weird life can make viewing every film one desires to see a task that is hard to bear until it’s already screening somewhere.
Sometimes a reviewer is glad she was invited to view the film, even if she forgot to actually reserve the ticket at ArcLight she was offered, especially when the Q and A is engaging and manages to delve deeper into discussing the sort of team it takes to make a film of this calibre, because, in some respects, the culture that surrounds the creation of the medium is more important to her at this juncture than a simple examination of it for the sake of theory or elements present.
Sometimes, two creatives struggle in Toronto to express themselves, relate to one another, pay their bills and find success. Sometimes the latent nature of that struggle is present and palpable in the dialogue, the pill case, the calendar, and even the way in which the camera trucks down the street to follow a character as she has a depressive episode. The tension and nature of coercion inherent to professional relationships is high. But where do we find the resolution of our problem, or even, perhaps our problem drinking? It might be found in finishing out projects, smoothing over barriers, and working through the anger and pain.
Dim the Fluorescents, director Daniel Warth’s latest offering, a Slamdance Sparky Award winner, is more than just a film that depicts the bleak life of two highly-emotional creative women as they attempt to artfully transcend the corporate setting in actingcraft and script writing.
For this reviewer, the film makes a decidedly masterful attempt at portraying what the negotiation of sexual tension and desire might look like if consent were truthfully and respectfully considered in the instance of pursuing its fulfillment, as Audrey, an actress portrayed by Claire Armstrong, pursues a love interest at her pacing and desire.
Dim the Fluorescents is officially on my list of per-annum must watch with a pint of ice cream films of the “essential popular feminist” canon that manage to blend this kind of messaging with a compelling narrative. Not because it doesn’t transcend the boundaries of Hollywood to be in essence a work of contemporary art film or an underground film (it does). It’s because it’s as important as Pretty Woman (you can love and take care of her no matter her background) Dirty Dancing (love, respect, and access to safe abortion are necessary) and The Cider House Rules (abortion is really f’ing necessary sometimes) and it manages to be so without moralizing the message as much as films in this genre can, as moralizing was a storytelling move quite prominent to films incorporating themes of social justice in the 80’s and 90’s. It has thankfully given way to a more clinical sense of realism found in schools of contemporary filmmaking that simplify the structure of the complex social fable to situational story arcs.
Though Warth has yet to strike a deal for distribution in the continental U.S., it is my opinion that his film deserves far more attention and will easily receive it if the film is marketed well. It boasts a compelling story and is a beautiful rendering of the messiness that is human relationship.