Presented by Cinémathèque Québécoise

She Who Must Burn

Directed by Larry Kent

Canadian Trailblazer Award: Larry Kent - World Premiere of Canadian International Pictures’ New 4K Restoration<br>



Larry Kent


Larry Kent, Shane Twerdun


Sarah Smyth, Missy Cross, Shane Twerdun, Andrew Dunbar, Andrew Moxham



Canada 2015 115 mins OV English

“Kent uses feminist and political messaging to construct a powerful and disturbing thriller”

“More than a half-century has passed since Larry Kent’s pioneering Canadian indie drama THE BITTER ASH, but he’s still rubbing salt in societal wounds with SHE WHO MUST BURN”
– Dennis Harvey, VARIETY

It is hard not to view SHE WHO MUST BURN as a roadside billboard showing us just how far we have travelled since the days of the Roe era to the present “post-Dobbs” America. When Larry Kent made the film in 2015, and when it premiered at Fantasia that year, it was still a “fantasy” take on a dystopian America. Critics at the time acknowledged the film’s plot as an extreme potential future for reproductive and equal rights in an America under a sustained threat from the rise of intolerant religious orthodoxy. But in the post-Dobbs reality we witness today, where states are virtually competing to earn status as the most repressive and antithetical to women’s health, SHE WHO MUST BURN appears more as the proverbial canary in the coal mine, that message we all really should have paid more attention to at the time.

Set against the backdrop of a small mining town, with more than a suggestion that the community is at risk from industrial pollution, SHE WHO MUST BURN tackles the impact of the loss of tolerance and civility where reproductive rights/women’s rights are concerned. Angela (Sarah Smythe) tries to keep a counseling service afloat after the murder of the local clinic doctor, but soon finds herself the target of escalatory violence from the Baarkers, a clan of religious zealots. When the wife of Jeremiah Baarker seeks Angela’s help to escape her physically abusive spouse, storm clouds gather.

Developed in acting workshops at the Vancouver Film School, the story is written by actor Shane Twerdun (Jeremiah Baarker). Kent employs a claustrophobic camera style, giving the film its unsettling horror edge. As he did so often throughout his career, Kent pushes the drama to the extremes, and in so doing, demands the viewer take note. – David Douglas