by Faruq Oyekan
What we have today is a French-Canadian film from writer and director Ian Lagarde. Daybreak is an examination of suburban youth and the tender ages when one posses moral innocence and pent up emotions. It captures beautifully through cinematic and narrative excellence the relationship between boys and girls before the interference of puberty, and what mischief can occur when one lives life without a strong moral barometer.
Ian Largade's Daybreak tells the story of a pack of children wanderers. They spend day to day causing mischief and putting each other in overall dangerous situations. The story focus on one particular boy in the pack, who for the most part is unnamed, and a young female, also unnamed, who shares a connection with the boy. Given throughout the film is a hint of a romantic relationship between the two or at least a strong subconscious connection.
What we get for plot in this film, is an average day in the life of these children. We see them from the start of their day riding bikes and teasing each other as we would normally expect. This then progress into a shocking tirade of morally questonable behavior, that is overall satisfyingly interesting for the viewer.
This film is full of shock value. However not the shock value that is often always distasteful or oobscenely presented. The shock value showcased i n the film gives the viewer a intriguing view into the dangers of pack mentality and unattended youth. Accompanying the shock value, is amazing cinematography that never leaves the viewers eye unsatisfied.
Scenes of slow motion and various close up serve gracefully to increase the dramatic tension of various scenes.
The acting is excellent in this film and the children casted do a excellent job showcasing a wide range of emotions. Often times performances of children actors can feel stale or awkward. This is not the case in this film. For the content presented in this film, the performance given by all of the cast is quite chilling and engaging.
Overall, Ian Largarde's Daybreak is a visually stunning film that will make you think. The themes and ideas presented are quite ambiguous, and this leaves the viewer with the option of interpreting the film in various ways.
For a unique look at suburban youth and morals overall check out Daybreak available on Vimeo.
INTERVIEW with Ian Lagarde (Director/Writer)
First, who is Ian Lagarde? How did you become a filmmaker?
I started out as a child actor, which I really liked but not nearly as much as peeking into the cameras when I was on set. So I started photography and writing which translated quite naturally to filmmaking. A lot of experimenting and craziness later, I started directing and working as a director and cinematographer, which felt like I was right at home. I'm prepping my first fiction feature film which should be shot next fall.
What inspired this short? Does this short have a moral message?
I grew up in the suburbs, which was a seemingly endless drag. This short is inspired by one summer I spent in a much more affluent suburb than the one I grew up in. A summer when I discovered a different breed of violence. I had been used to a more direct, "you hit me I hit you back" type of thing. But these guys actually had a more cultivated sense of violence, I discovered irony and social violence. It was quite an eye opener on my perception of very well- off communities, from which we moved the following year, back to my "regular" suburb. But I refuse morals in art or filmmaking and although I have my opinion about this, I think it's a complicated subject and that exposed the ethics of it could've been done, but not in the way I intended to do it. From the get go, I really pushed for something very subjective (I almost always do) that would be shot as I remember it, from the POV of the kid, as seen by him in its immediacy and without morals intervening. I really, viscerally, hate being preached at, so I wouldn't dream of preaching at audiences.
How did the casting process go? Any interesting casting stories?
We took our sweet time to cast these kids. I love casting, even if it is often quite heart-breaking. We had to find kids who could just BE instead of just act. Most kids who were really good at acting out lines had been too well trained to let go of their self-consciousness, but we gave them a chance by organizing workshops where a good friend of mine would coach them into letting loose. She helped a lot with the casting process and these workshops were really interesting and quite revealing as to which kids were better suited for this project.
Any interesting behind the scenes stories?
Not that I can think of right now, the kids were great, so was the team and it's been a while. Plus my memory is terrible sometimes!
What is it like film making now after having made this film? Has your approach changed?
I am going for a more dirty approach now, trying not to make things too perfect. Frames, acting and script will be slightly more volatile in my next projects. The last one has just gotten a grand jury prize in Germany(Stuttgart) and we shot in fast and with very limited means, but a great crew and awesome actors.
Do you have any projects lined up for the future?
I have almost completed the financing for All You Can Eat Buddha, my first feature film, which should be shot in Cuba. And I am writing another feature set in the backwoods of Quebec, 400 years ago.
Any advice to filmmakers?
Make movies and never stop making movies. It's pretty simple and there really isn't much of a way around it.