Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Last chance to see Taming Tammy; Green Chain Praise

Tomorrow, Thursday, October 11th at 12:30 pm is the last screening of the romantic comedy Taming Tammy at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Tahmoh has a small part in the film--a modern adaptation of Taming of the Shrew--as Wilson, an arrogant plastic surgeon (at left).

Also screening at the festival was the logging docudrama The Green Chain, in which Tahmoh plays an underemployed firefighter. Battlestar's Tricia Helfer also stars. Press for the film has been quite positive and the most recent screenings prompted two more reviews:

Vancouver Sun: Capsule review of The Green Chain

Everything you wanted to know about the B.C. logging industry but were afraid to ask, emerges -- in one way or another -- over the course of Mark Leiren-Young's new film. It has the guts to explore the issue in emotional terms without getting bogged down in the endless rhetoric -- or the facile argument of people versus nature. A smart and well-researched film that successfully sees the trees through the forest.
Vancouver Courrier: Review of The Green Chain
All seven characters in this docudrama by Vancouverite Mark Leiren-Young claim to love trees--and surely they all do. But their perspectives on B.C.'s forestry industry vary as much as their positions in life. A second-generation logger, granny protester, underemployed firefighter, cause-championing star, naïve tree-sitter, First Nations forestry executive and long-suffering diner waitress deliver engaging monologues that lay out their views, movingly and convincingly. The technique pulls viewers into their emotional spheres, leading us to abandon presumptions or at least recognize the complexity of the situation. Standout performances include Scott McNeil as a baffled logger facing the realities of less work and fewer trees, and noted stage actress Jillian Fargey as his burdened wife, whose diner job and reflections on family and community reveal the human cost of changing times.

Local up-and-coming actor Brendan Fletcher is also delightful as tree-occupying Dylan, babbling to his Handi-cam 100 feet up a cedar. Leiren-Young's strong and nuanced writing pinpoints these varied personalities, and his background in comedy injects levity (where appropriate) into a generally sombre subject. There may be no easy outs, the film implies, but a good debate can't be off the mark. Aimed at local viewers, Green Chain references real people (most notably Babz Chula as recently freed senior protester Betty Krawczyk) and events. It's more difficult, however, to understand the omission of a treeplanter, or mention of the pine-beetle plague. Still, this film is a timely artifact to inspire discussion.

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