Camera Shy

(Canada, 2012, 91 mins, HDCAM)
CAST Nicolas Wright, Lara Gilchrist, Gerard Plunkett, Hilary Jardine, C Ernest Harth
Opening night reception with First Weekend Club 6 pm. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.

This hilarious made-in-Vancouver comedy makes up in ingenuity what it lacks in big budget gloss.

Larry Coyle (Nicolas Wright) is a man with a plan. A city councillor, he’s working hand in glove with developer-tycoon Bob Sterling (Gerard Plunkett) to facilitate a new casino project. The proposed site is an environmental hazard, but Larry is willing to compromise for the sake of the bigger picture—a familiar type, of course.

But this satire of political corruption comes with an extra side of crazy as we discover in the second scene: reclining in a motel room after some extramarital recreation, Larry looks in the mirror and sees a cameraman taping him. How did this guy get in the room? Turns out he’s everywhere: in Larry’s office as he crafts his shady deals, in his kitchen as he slyly manipulates his family and, ultimately, in his psychiatrist’s office as he seeks help for his mysterious plight. This film is a fable of the avenging conscience; its cleverness lies in its rendering of this classic trope in terms of the movie grammar. The director positions himself as the cameraman, and poor Larry comes to believe that his life is a fictional contrivance—the very movie we’re watching. It’s an inspired conceit worthy of Charlie Kaufman, and Camera Shy develops it with rare brilliance.

“"Movies about movies" are tricky ground, but there are very few missteps here. The humor is pitch black, and had me laughing constantly.” —Zack Mosely, Quiet Earth