BY DANNY R. PHILLIPS
Darkness is a living, breathing part of the human condition. It is undeniable, we all have lied motionless, crushed under its spirit crushing weight, and we have gnashed our teeth against it, some have been lucky to crawl into the light while others become consumed by emptiness. With the new film “Broken Side of Time,” Gorman Bechard is able to take his main character Dolce to the brink, showing all the unsavory corners of her life and never quite fully telling us if she came out on the other side.
Dolce is a model that, before retiring from the game, has one last hurrah taking “modeling jobs” as she makes her way back home to Michigan. These “jobs” are mainly freaks that want to be near the once famous Dolce, to live out their fantasies through her as she makes money to fuel her slide away from reality. Dolce’s descent into the abyss is unsettling; drugs, booze and self-loathing is the fuel running the machine.
Dolce/Jane (played superbly damaged by Lynn Mancinelli) has sex with seemingly everyone she comes across; a guy she drunkenly meets in a bar, a naïve girl who wants to be a model “just like Dolce” and countless nameless, faceless photographers. It seems that through director Bechard’s masterful use of light and shadow he is reflecting on Dolce as a complex being, an animal that has lost who she is, desperately trying to find what has been lost. She is not one-dimensional, she is not merely another in the legion of lost souls, someone that has long ago became an object, ceasing to be real. She both longs to survive and does not care if she does. Broken Side of Time narrative has been a hit on the festival circuit, winning best narrative feature at Cinekink, Best Cinematography at VisionFest 13 and Best Actress for Lynn Mancinelli at Hell’s Half Mile. The DVD will feature five extended unedited photo shoots, extended scenes, a blooper reel and a featurette on how they achieved the look and feel on a budget of merely $15,000 raised on Kickstarter.
Known for his rock documentaries (the superb Every Everything: The Music, Life and Times of Grant Hart, Color Me Obsessed, What Did You Expect?- Archers of Loaf at Cat’s Cradle) and the animal rights film A Dog Named Gucci, Bechard moves away from rock n roll, at least for the time being. With Broken Side of Time, he works in shaping the subtleties of light, shadow, dark and what it means to be human in a world that has lost its soul.
Watching Dolce’s slip into the abyss is somewhat like watching a car stranded on the tracks as a train barrels towards it. You really want to help, to scream “Get out of the way!” but deep inside we want to see what happens next. Broken Side of Time is a look at a journey and a destination, a glimpse at what happens when you give all yourself to something and are used, tossed aside in return. Dolce is a train wreck personified and I could not stop watching.