As Ginger begins to exhibit werewolf traits the film becomes a weird satire

Werewolves are distressed males affected by uncontrollable bloodlusts, right? Wrong. JOHN FAWCETT’s Ginger Snaps concentrates on illness, adolescence and suburbia. Oh, and the werewolf’s a girl, the rather fetching KATHARINE ISABELLE. Words: Steve Cramer

ntil recently. we‘ve known what to expect

from the horror film‘s social milieu. The

middle class American kids who‘ve been slaughtered wholesale by monsters. psychos and supernatttral entities have afforded us a good deal of. lets face it. vicarious joy. This is because. deep down. we resent the privileged little drongos who occupy this carefree summer-camp world. But .lolm l‘awcett. writer—director of (finger Snaps. a new take on the werewolf movie filmed in Canada. has shifted the well-trodden ground of the genre underneath tts. In bringing an eletnent of realism to the normally myth- enhanced ttniverse of Hollywood youth. liawcett has brought abottt a film which is both satirically pointed. and ultimately tragic.

‘\\’e wanted to get away from those conventions about suburbia.~ l’awcett explains. ‘We didn‘t want a Hollywood school. with those high ceilings and chequered floors. and all the lovely architecture dating back to

bttt it wasn‘t what I was looking for. I wanted a concrete bunker. a prison-like place like the high school I went to. a very oppressive place. lior women. it‘s a film about that suburban oppression. the fear that you might turn into your mother.‘

This suburban world oppresses (linger (Katharine Isabelle) and her sister Brigitte tlimily Perkins) to such an extent that they play at representing their own


suicides as light relief from their resolute lack of

teenage kicks. .lust as Ginger begins to experience a rather belated puberty at sixteen. a werewolf who has specialised in despatching the local dogs in recent

days attacks her. She begins to exhibit some werewolf

traits herself. and the film becomes a weird satire.

22 THE LIST .31 Jon-8 Jul

‘For women, it’s a film about about l‘)l(). Hollywood uses those SUbUrban OppreSSIQna the fear things because they look good on film. that you mlght turn lfliO YOUl’

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and a metaphorical exploration of puberty. illness. and as (linger becomes increasingly empowered as a female. sisterly bonding.

Isabelle takes up the theme of adolescence with enthusiasm: ':\s (iinger begins to change. it is really confusing and freaky at first. It‘s just like that time in your life when your body begins to change and you feel different. like a monster.‘ All the same. lsabelle‘s

character uses her lycanthropic illness as a source of particularly feminised power. She becomes a kind of

Virginia \N'olfman. ‘She gets used to the power.‘ says Isabelle. ‘She starts to feel her own sexuality. and she uses that just as we all do at certain times with certain people.‘

Well. yes. bttt her sex scene with prospective boyfriend Jason gets aggressive enough to give the stattnchest S&.\l freak the fears. l-‘awcett feels that the point of this violent seqttcnce is about satirising male sexuality: ‘lt’s like that scene in Rumvu Is Bleeding where Lena ()lin seduces (iary ()ldman. She‘s in this leather costume and. well. she‘s a real babe. but she‘s also got this prosthetic arm. 'l‘here‘s a kind of repulsion about this. and it captures that ambivalence in a guy's mind where you think. "id have sex with her . . . but maybe not." It‘s a really complex reaction.’

l-‘awcett‘s imagery is eqttally complex. but the fear of the body and its possible rebellion against the mind seems to recur. lle insists that part of this is

about getting around the conventions of the werewolf

movie. ‘I wondered why werewolves had to be about myth and magic. Why can't it be biology. transft)rmation'.’

When we were

trying to raise money for the film. I kept saying. hall jokingly. to people it‘s a cross between Heaven/y

(Ventures and David (‘ronenberg’s The My. I‘d have to admit that (‘ronenberg is one of my favourite

directors. and I wanted to go through that business of

disintegration and transformation of the body. but it is a bit different from (‘ronenberg‘s version.‘ Very different. in fact.

Ginger Snaps opens at the Cameo, Edinburgh Fri 29 Jun and GFT, Glasgow Fri 20 Jul. See review, page 24.

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International Film Festival has announced its opening night film for Sunday 12 August, the French fantasy Amelie directed by Jean- Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen). ‘I loved Amelie for its playful exuberance.’ says artistic director Lizzie Franke of the film which has already been a phenomenal box office success in France. ‘I can‘t think of a happier note to open on and a better one to set the tone for the following two weeks.‘

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BACK IN EDINBURGH Refugee Week comes to the Filmhouse with eight films being screened between 22 and 28 June. New films to our shores such as The Diplomat, an engaging portrait of East Timorese lndependenceleaderand Nobel Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta, and Jung: In The Land Of The Mujaheddin, a look at contemporary life in Afghanistan, are mixed with already popular imports including Cannes Film Festival prize-winning Blackboards and Edinburgh prize-winning Beautiful People. Go ahead, break down those nasty myths about asylum seekers.

Berlin Babylon