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A Nice Ending to the Day

Today was a busy day at work: I attended three meetings and worked a shift in public service. Somewhere in there I was able to fit in lunch. After my final meeting, I headed for a quick workout, and then to dinner at the home of my friend and colleague, Kathryn, who is an amazing chef: Nova Scotia haddock, asparagus, sapphron rice, delicious salad, apple cranberry crisp. This was, you see, a bribe to entice me to join her at the Edmonton International Film Festival gala screening of Marion Bridge, the first feature film by director Wiebke von Carolsfeld. The film stars one of my favorite actresses, BC native Molly Parker, whose films include The Center of the World, Sunshine, Men With Brooms, and one of my favorite films of 2002, Max. During the drive down, I mentioned that the gala screenings at the festival usually feature the director and an actor or two from the film, and I jokingly suggested that maybe Molly Parker would appear. When we arrived, I learned that in fact she was there! My smile grew very wide!

Marion Bridge film tells the story of three sisters in Cape Breton, who are facing their mother’s impending death and the need to exorcise some of their own inner demons and past secrets. Molly plays Agnes, who returns from Toronto to be with her sisters and mother, and decides to stay for an extended period of time. Agnes is dealing with past drug and alcohol addiction, and her return is met with her sisters’ scepticism. Rebecca Jenkins plays the oldest sister, Theresa, apparently divorced/separated from her ex-husband/partner, but who cannot leave her past life with him alone. The youngest sister, Louise, played by Stacy Smith, seems to be not much more than a bump on a log – endlessly watching her shows on television and otherwise doing much of nothing, trying to numb out the world.

The screenplay, by Daniel MacIvor, never feels forced – there is genuine pain shared by the sisters, and slowly we learn details about their past lives, some of them very unpleasant. Yet the film has gentle moments of humour, almost to give the audience a time out from the intensity of the story.

I enjoyed the movie, and afterwards, Molly and Weibke did a Q&A with the audience, hosted by Brian Johnson of Maclean’s. I found the courage to ask Molly a question about her acting choices, and Weibke a question about how she cast the movie. Afterwards, there was a reception in the lobby of the Horowitz Theatre, and Molly was there, talking to some of the moviegoers. I couldn’t resist, and made my way over to where she was, eventually talking to her briefly, and having my picture taken standing next to her! I can report that she is incredibly warm and graceful, a delight to talk to, and very gracious to have allowed me to have a picture taken with her. She gave me permission to post it on the site, which I will do sometime soon (the picture was taken by someone else at the screening who I know from volunteering at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival – talk about good luck!)

What a nice ending to the day. Thanks, Molly!

2 Responses to “A Nice Ending to the Day”

  1. Mike N. Says:

    You dog! I love Molly Parker.

  2. Michael Hall Says:

    What? No mention of the Journal story? Runte…that limelight hound…

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