Shadowboxing is a post-coming-of-age film that deals with the stasis of graduation and the phenomenon of being driven but also directionless, and the temptation of settling for something less than what you want out of life. Standing on the precipice of “real life” and having to deal with a future that has suddenly arrived, the main character finds he is unable to act. Making choices in the dark – sounds familiar to many graduates.
The film, predominantly made by Concordia students, has been in the works since 2007. It was selected to premiere Feb. 24 at Montreal’s 29th edition of Les rendez-vous du cinÃ©ma quÃ©bÃ©cois.
RVCQ is a 10-day film festival where amateurs and professionals meet to share filmmaking experiences. It gives an accurate look at the variety of productions going on in both the French and English sectors.
“[RVCQ] is a really good place. The North American market is kind of overcrowded [with] American content. It’s good that Canada and Quebec are promoting and encouraging local work, and creating a place for Canadians to showcase it,” said Jesse Klein, writer and director of the film.
Shadowboxing is about Sam Eliot, played by Robert Lamont, a college graduate who heads home to find his family life has gone awry. In trying to deal with his peculiar relationships, Sam ultimately loses a grasp on his own life. He chooses only to react to what happens to him, not knowing how to push forward. “We dealt with it [Sam’s stagnant character] by making his acting be only in his reacting,” Klein said.
Klein said the idea for the film came from his surroundings: an overwhelming number of people he was meeting were having difficulty in choosing their paths after school.
“Everyone who is lucky enough to go to college is put in a position to choose something at a very young age. It’s an element everybody deals with,” he said. “I think Sam is very much in the mindset that other people are after they graduate from college. He’s driven but without the notion or idea of where to put that drive. And so he ends up being idle, and through that idleness ends up acting out.” Klein said he also found himself bouncing around after his graduation, unsure of what to pursue.
“It’s only now that I’m in graduate school that I’ve really committed to film,” he said.
The young director is currently doing a master’s degree at the University of Texas in Austin. This isn’t his first experience traveling abroad; he started writing the script of Shadowboxing when he was studying in England and travelling through India.
“[My experience abroad] was informative, and it was also good not to be in Montreal,” said Klein. “It gives you the proverbial distance, and allows you to think of people and relationships from a distance.”
Klein is thrilled that his film will be premiering in Montreal, saying it will allow for the cast and crew to attend.
Along with nearly 300 films, the RVCQ festival also features workshops, seminars, classes, public discussion and exhibits. It also reserves a special place for historical Quebec films: this year, the festival will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Le DÃ©clin de l’empire amÃ©ricain.
A decision as to the location for the American premiere of Shadowboxing will take place after the festival.