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  Cycle index  
The Tracey’s Fragments
dir. Bruce McDonald / Canada 2007 / 77’
subtitles: Polish and English
Cinema of Canada
Hew Horizons of Film Language


Ellen Page, Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, Ari Cohen, Erin McMurtry

Film description

McDonald's inventive visual split-screen design in The Tracey Fragments explores the inchoate thoughts and emotions of distraught teenager Tracey Berkowitz (Ellen Page) as she travels from her small town to Winnipeg in search of her brother, who has mysteriously disappeared. Destitute and alone, she wanders the mean streets of an unfamiliar city, encountering marginal, alienated characters like and unlike herself. She also struggles to deal with memories of her dysfunctional family and her infatuations with her angst-ridden sometime boyfriend. In the midst of her journey to the lower depths of the city and of her emotions, Tracey sometimes catches glimpses - or so she thinks - of her missing brother. The fractured, fragmentary nature of Tracey's thoughts and actions are conveyed in the film's restless, constantly split- and even splintered-screen construction. At times achieving a form of cinematic Cubism, McDonald here boldly fuses style and substance to create an unsettling and entirely convincing portrait of a troubled psyche.

Tom McSorley

Perfectly trivial: a dysfunctional family, a teenager who hates herself and her body, rebellion and tragedy. Tracey (played by the brilliant award-winning Ellen Page) herself speaks about her initiations - in the spheres of friendship, sex, violence. The shooting lasted two weeks, but the post-production took nine months - which is evident. The Tracey Fragments is among the most interesting and boldest films with polivision - on-screen multiplication, multiplicity of images. Frames are constantly moving - there are 3, 4, 7, even 13 parts, divided horizontally, vertically and obliquely, reuniting, toned with colour filters, intertwining and overlapping, shifting from left to right, up and downwards. Thus, watching this film is a never-ending adventure and fascinating challenge for perception. The fragmentation reflects the main character's confusion, the chaos slipping into her life, but the director is also playing with form, exploring horizons of contemporary vertical editing, possible due to video-art, computers and internet. As for the latter medium, after the official premiere the director invited everybody to take part in a competition for another version of the jigsaw-puzzle.

Jan Topolski

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There will be a special screening of Guy Maddin's Brand Upon the Brain! attended by the director himself, with a performance by foley artists, narrator Gosia Dobrowolska and an orchestra.

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