Midnight Madness | Canada | Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy | 102 minutes
Admittingly I’d never heard of this 1970’s Italian film genre ‘giallo’ that The Editor pays homage to. Giallo is a mix of crime fiction, eroticism, and mystery, but The Editor isn’t just that. The Winnipeg film reflects this era well, bell-bottoms and all, even commenting cleverly on all the mistakes and conventions of a B-film slasher trying to be taken seriously. The Editor is, essentially, a horror comedy. And it’s actually funny. The laugh out loud kind of funny. If you were at its TIFF world premiere Thursday night, the raunchy and tastefully tasteless jokes would have had you in stitches with all the rest.
But the problem with the film is perhaps not with with film itself but with potential audiences. In the film there are quite a few scenes objectifying violence against women. That in itself is unfavourable to me, it must be said. I understandable that the film is commenting on conventions and stereotypes of this genre in a comical way but, for audiences that don’t fully understand the joke, the film ends up perpetuating and glorifying the violence in unavoidable ways. And it has to be said that there were far fewer laughs in the theatre during these scenes. While it’s clear to me that the film doesn’t take itself seriously, it’s hard to say what audiences will take from it and this is a legitimate concern when, especially, these scenes of physical abuse and violence toward women don’t necessarily move the plot forward.
As a 1970’s exploitation film, I expect it to draw a very specific audience and I have faith that they’ll be smart and aware enough to understand the jokes. The Editor is, at its root, a film about film. Saying those words would turn a lot of people off but it’s off-kilter presentation about the process of storytelling and filmmaking is hilarious. It’s about an editor who is like the bass player in a band that no one ever talks about. He’ll walk into a scene and the characters will turn to see who it is with excitement but… Oh… It’s just the editor. The film is successfully rich in this way. From the physical sound to the genre mashup story telling to the background strip teases… I’d like to believe that it’s all there with purpose.