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Saturday, September 17, 2016

'The Edge of Marlene' DVD: A 'Paper Moon' for the 21st Century

The Edge of Marlene

Breaking Glass Pictures gives American audiences a savory taste of the talent of indie Canadian film makers for dark comedy with the September 20, 2016 DVD release of the 2014  film "The Edge of Marlene" (nee "Sitting on the Edge of Marlene.")  Wonderfully quirky Suzanne Clement plays the titular low-level con artist/mother/prison widow/manic depressive.

The following YouTube clip of the theatrical trailer for "Marlene" provides a good sense of the overt and subtle symbolism in the film, as well as the overall art-house style of this genuine work of art.

We meet Marlene in the middle of pulling a con with edge of 16 daughter Sammie. The age of the old lost-bracelet grift that this pair is perpetuating makes the vintage look of both their clothes and the bar in which they are plying their trade very apt. We soon learn that earning enough money to get by until Dad is released from jail provides the impetus for this bring-your-daughter-to-work-day activity.

Subsequent downfalls, such as a con gone traumatically wrong, cause Marlene to spiral down toward one of the titular edges. Other drama comes in the form of Sammie both showing that the apple does not plummet far from the tree and that mothers showing the cute blond boy from your after-school "Jesus Camp" her dark side can be very embarrassing.

Said very trippy camp also wonderfully put Sammie in direct conflict with the Heathers/Mean Girls in the group. This climaxes in a wonderful cat fight in a very apt location. The final surprising (but partially satisfying) climax to "Marlene" is a apt ending to the tension that slowly escalates throughout the film.

Watching these Bizarro Universe Gilmore Girls battle the world, each other, and their highly related inner demons is compelling because it is not so far from true for many of us. Not thinking about how relatively close that many of us are to living lives of quiet desperation helps us get out of bed for own battles with the world, family members, and the dark thoughts swirling around in our brains.

We get the bonus of yet another cinematic peek into the lives of the petty grifters, who practices one of the oldest professions. The all-time greatest such glimpse being "Paper Moon," with father-daughter acting team Ryan and Tatum O'Neal, makes the parent-child in "Marlene" that much more entertaining.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Marlene" is strongly encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,