Skip to main content

TIFF Preview - MODRA, a film by Ingrid Veninger

TIFF Preview

MODRA
Written, Produced and Directed by Ingrid Veninger
Introducing Hallie Switzer and Alexander Gammal
Cinematographer Ian Anderson
A pUNK films production produced with the participation of Telefilm Canada

World Premiere at TIFF 2010
CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA

Canadian filmmaker Ingrid Veninger stars daughter Hallie Switzer in this low key coming of age/teen romance story set in Slovakia - not that Hallie wouldn't have known what to expect. Her brother Jacob starred in Ingrid's acclaimed film Only (2008) which also dealt with the world of young love.

“ONLY, which I made with my son Jacob, was a remarkable experience both as parent and director,” Veninger says. “He was about to turn 13, and the film explored first love and that time just before we become adolescents. When Hallie, my daughter, turned 17, I knew it would be important for us to create something together, before she finished high school and was off into the world – and that’s how MODRA was born.”

The set up is this: Hallie's Lina is about to embark on a week long trip to Modra, a town in Slovakia and home to a multitude of relatives she hasn't seen in years. Dumped by her boyfriend on the eve of departure, she impulsively asks Leco when he calls to ask her for a date.

If this were a Hollywood film cast with the latest and hottest tween stars, (who were probably actually in their 20's!) the two of them would slowly discover a burgeoning romance, with the possibility of a romantic rival or two to spice up the story line. But this film aims not to be summer blockbuster entertainment, but a more subtle and realistic look at the uniquely confusing predicament that is teenage desire.

The two leads flesh out the characters into realistic portraits of teenagers - more often uncommunicative than the glib versions of popular culture. There is an attraction of sorts between the two. It's one that vacillates between the two winsome leads, and the progress of which is prickly in all its unexpressed and unresolved tensions and tangled motives.

This is also no glamourous trip to the Continent; Modra being a town with not much in the way of urban amenities, but nonetheless a charming rural backdrop to their developing relationship. The film spends almost as much time following Lina as she explores her Slovakian heritage through an endless succession of visits to relatives, the scene of much feasting and musical interludes.

It's a thoughtful portrait of teen life that should appeal to adults just as much as teenaged filmgoers.

Born in Bratislava, and raised in Canada, Ingrid Veninger is a producer/actor/writer/director with numerous award-winning credits to her name, including NURSE.FIGHTER.BOY, which was recently nominated for 10 Genie Awards.  She has worked extensively in film, television and theatre since 1980, appearing as an actor alongside Holly Hunter, Jackie Burroughs, Stellan Skarsgard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Clark Johnson, Janeane Garofalo and Meryl Streep, among others.

Comments

What Else Is Hot This Week?

Jazzy Pop: Shihori - Soul Trip (Independent / 4 September 2020)

Jazzy Pop:
Shihori - Soul Trip
(Independent / 4 September 2020)New York City based singer and songwriter Shihori's new single Soul Trip is atmospheric and ambient. Interesting rhythms and interwoven melodic vocal lines showcase jazzy harmonic progressions in a slow groove mode. 
As a songwriter, she uses electronic effects with impeccable musical taste. As a singer, her flexible vocals range from a sweet soprano to a strong mid-range.A veteran of the Japanese pop scene, Shihori moved to New York City in 2018, a move she talks about in a media release."I was so surprised when I came to NY for the first time. Independent and strong women are respected and there are lots of different preferences in music and style. I thought, 'oh my God! This place really accepts uniqueness and freedom! I didn't know there is a place like this totally different world that allows you to be yourself. Everybody looks so different. So many races, colors, cultures, fashion, ideas...I am so happy…

Recently Released | The smallest Creature: Magic Beans (Independent / 30 September 2020)

Recently Released
The smallest Creature: Magic Beans
(Independent / 30 September 2020)Stream it on SpotifyWith influences from The Beatles to Alice in Chains, The smallest Creature's Magic Beans is an album of alt-rock with an intimate, almost alt-folk feel to it. The lyrics are poetic and integral to the song, lit up with tight chops and accomplished musicality.
Would You Blink has a nice sense of urgency and a driving rhythm, contrasted by October Song, something of an old blues song with a 21st century rock makeover. Their grunge influences come to the fore in Glow, with Let Burn another guitar-heavy rocker. The band goes softer in Break Me, an acoustic song that spotlights Stefanos Marnerides' soft tenor. The smallest Creature hail from Larnaca in Cyprus in the sunny Mediterranean. The smallest Creature is the brainchild of Stefanos Marnerides, with the name starting off as an alias in NYC where Stefanos was performing solo gigs and recording demos. When later Stefanos moved …

Alt Country | Doc Straw & the Scarecrows: Get on By (Independent / July 31, 2020)

Alt Country
Doc Straw & the Scarecrows: Get on By
(Independent / July 31, 2020)Stream it on SpotifyClever lyrics that tell a story and an appealing acoustic bounce give the new single by Doc Straw & the Scarecrows a classic modern folk vibe. The vocal harmonies are pleasing and the words are an upbeat ode to persevering during tough times.
It's a timely message, and Doc talked about it in a release."I wrote this song after getting off of a 3-hour long phone conversation with my sister, Jessica, and a lot of our conversation that evening  centered around some of the tougher things in life and how we were dealing with these struggles. If a person lives long enough then at some point they will experience these trying seasons. I've learned that it's important to pay attention during those times because that is when we have some of the best opportunities to grow."It has a nicely haunting harmonica line and builds to an emotional peak. Virginia based Mike Straw is…

Missing Italy? A Virtual Exhibition Can Help

From a release:Missing Italy? A Virtual Exhibition Can HelpCheck Out The Exhibition OnlineENIT and Italy: A Beautiful Tale, is a three-dimensional online virtual exhibition presenting the origins and development of ENIT (the Italian National Tourist Board) and its fundamental role for more than one hundred years in promoting Italy, as an international tourist destination. Telling our story means presenting part of Italy’s history.
You can visit the exhibition through four sections:Establishment of the National tourist board and its development;A historical selection of posters presenting travel throughout Italy;Editorial pages promoted by the tourist board;A selection of photographs from our archives covering all of the Italian peninsula from north to south.The goal is to let the public about the agency's work in promoting Italy in a digital, interactive display.

Psychedelic Punk Rock | Lord Sonny the Unifier: (All My Friends Live) Underground (Independent / 25 September 2020)

Psychedelic Punk Rock
Lord Sonny the Unifier: (All My Friends Live) Underground
(Independent / 25 September 2020)Stream it on SpotifyLayers of rhythm and percussive piano characterize this earworm track from Brooklyn's Lord Sonny the Unifier. With spooky harmonies and guitar that is all distortion with a psychedelic vibe, it's a compelling single for the time. Sonny builds the track with an almost orchestral sensibility to a big sound finish.
Greg Jiritano, the main impetus behind Lord Sonny, talked about the song in a media release."(All My Friends Live) Underground is a song about iconoclasts and outsiders who find their group of freaks, or Tribe in the shadows and underbelly, outside the conventions of  society. It's a calling to join us and leave behind  what society has embraced as the norms and the acceptable, the well trod path above. Leave the trivialities being thrust upon us since birth and join our Tribe and rediscover there the truths that will enrich you and…