Inside Out Toronto 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival 2022
Hilary Adams, Kathleen Dorian, Koumbie, Kat McCormack, Lesley Smith
Nicole Cecile Holland
Festival Formula LTD
Spoken-word poet Wally (Lesley Smith) is a queer woman who sympathizes with her straight girlfriends’ struggle to meet reliable, non-violent men. News of non-consensual incidents with a particular guy—a popular chef in the neighbourhood—makes the women want to exact revenge on violent men. Wally has her own dating woes, but after a successful night with Lou (Kathleen Dorian), she impulsively attacks the chef in question. She’s exhilarated by the rush of violence and the power she wields; seduced and fueled by the women who applaud the mystery attacker. Reports sent to her anonymous tip line enforce the urge to attack men behind numerous assaults. When she enlists her lover Lou as backup and suspects her sister may be in an abusive relationship, Wally’s intense need for power and vengeance may jeopardize everything.
Tara Thorne steps out of her journalism endeavours to write and direct her first feature, COMPULSUS. A mixture of an arthouse film and revenge fantasy focused on women’s anger, the story targets the lack of consequences for men who use violence against women. In this world, Wally takes the same liberties as the community’s assailants, bludgeoning and maiming faceless agents of violence with little fear of being caught. Smith’s portrayal of a frustrated woman compelled to shake the system up “one guy at a time” is earnest and energetic, countering the apathetic society and system surrounding her. COMPULSUS—which means “striking together; hostile”—is guaranteed to get people talking about women’s power, consent and the end of violence against women. – Carolyn Mauricette
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