Cycles of Dependency: An Interview with Ashley McKenzie

  • MUBI
Ashley McKenzie’s Werewolf is one of the most accomplished and acclaimed Canadian debut features in recent memory. Set on Cape Breton Island off the East Coast of Nova Scotia, the story follows a methadone addicted couple, Nessa (Bhreagh MacNeil) and Blaise (Andrew Gillis), who are struggling to survive. McKenzie looks at the cycles of dependency that trap these characters in an environment that offers them few escape routes. Living in the woods, waiting for housing support, getting daily methadone doses, and unsuccessfully trying to make ends meet by going door to door mowing people’s lawns, it becomes clear that their relationship is part of what perpetuates their situation. Slowly, Nessa tries to break free. McKenzie’s acute sense of the milieu of her native Cape Breton is reflected in both the authenticity of the performances and the film’s assured formal language that captures the marginal space—figurative
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