True North | Future//Present
A tenuously linked group of nobodies trudge through their woeful existence in dreary Winnipeg. A sickly middle-aged man in a failing marriage, a stand-up comedian whose sets are met by utter indifference, a stoner couple who share only trivial exchanges, and a young loner unsympathetic to his caring mother are each living lives lost in translation, detached from their surroundings and the people around them.
Even when they’re in direct contact, people cannot manage to connect as these characters move through mundane surroundings rendered alien and desolate by mind-numbing normalcy and pervading ambivalence. Transcending mere miserablism, everyday mishaps accumulate as resounding tragedy in this uncomfortably unironic anti-comedy that recalls the work of Rick Alverson and Yorgos Lanthimos. Shot entirely on 16mm, Tapeworm is a curiously determined portrait of purposelessness and an austere feature debut from the distinct vision of co-directors Fabián Velasco and Miloš Mitrovič (short film Imitations, VIFF 16). If Chaplin said that life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot, then here it is in medium.