Old Haunts

This week on Someone Else’s Movie, I’m joined by writer-director Zarrar Kahn, whose first feature In Flames  is opening across Canada this Friday — and who I got to meet when we screened it at the festival last fall.

In Flames is a brooding, unsettling study of a Karachi medical student who, after her father’s death, finds herself beset by forces she doesn’t quite comprehend … and by others she understands all too well. It applies the rules of a genre film to a contemporary drama, nudging recognizable tropes in interesting new ways to create something that straddles the two disciplines.

As it happens, Zarrar picked another film with a similarly unquantifiable spirit: BeDevil, the first and only feature from Australian artist Tracey Moffatt, a 1993 collection of ghost stories united by themes of disconnection and miscommunication between the country’s Indigenous people and the white settlers who decided to take things over.

Addressing generational trauma, white privilege and colonial legacies in a slippery, unsettling way — and doing it decades before we had the language for those things — it’s a compelling and deeply weird work that takes up residence in your brain and refuses to leave. And Zarrar has some thoughts about that.

Want to listen? It’s easy! Find the show at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it in an attempt to drown out the music from the spectral ballroom where those spirits won’t stop dancing.

(Finding BeDevil is a little harder, mind you; it’s currently only available to stream at OVID.tv, or as a Vimeo rental. And only OVID seems to have the new restoration.)

And then go check out the latest edition of Shiny Things, where I spend 2800 words writing about James Cameron’s new 4K editions of Aliens and The Abyss. Which I went out and bought with actual money, because that’s how much I love them. Subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!

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