It took 10 years for S.B. Edwards to make a movie that captures the essence of a certain Vancouver subculture right now.
Shot in the well-worn back alleys and unreno’d homes of deep East Van, Fall Back Down is populated by a nonbinary rainbow of anarcho-punks, fringe artists, and undocumented immigrants scrambling their way through the gig economy. By the time black bloc activist Nick (Andrew Dunbar) and fiery sweatshop seamstress Reena (Aadila Dosani) find themselves inside a murder mystery, Fall Back Down has outpaced the viewer with curveballs including a Bollywood dance number and Joe (Shithead) Keithley’s cameo as a thug for hire. (He gets the best line when he exits the film, fuming, “Fucking millennials!”)
“If it took much longer it’d be behind the times,” Edwards jokes, confirming that Fall Back Down is a love letter to her own youthful experiences. “I wish I was still more in the community. When I was younger and just loose, it was fantastic. The queer community, the traveller community, the activists. On one end blac block, who I hugely respect, and then also the anarchist variations, a lot of people who are just carving out their own values, and living by their own compass. That’s definitely in my roots. These are entirely the things that interest me, and these are my politics.”
Edwards ruefully concludes that carving out a career in film has made her “more boring”, though her feature debut provides passionate and unhinged evidence to the contrary. It’s a strange, cheerful, quixotic little film that honours the filmmaker’s goal of representing “my people in the noble light I see everyone in”. Certainly, Edwards was adventurous (i.e. not boring) enough to let the screenplay take its own eccentric narrative journey, peppering it with non sequiturs like one character’s brief detour into—of all things—Neil LaBute.
“I indulged myself with one meta moment,” she says, explaining that it harks back to her days pounding the pavement looking for film work in L.A. An interview with LaBute was going swimmingly up until Edwards casually used the phrase “110 percent”, triggering a diatribe from the apparently somewhat pedantic filmmaker. “It was like Seinfeld,” she says. “Like this Costanza thing. ‘I lost the job over 110 percent. It was fucking 110 percent!’ So I just put it in the film, in case I only ever get to make one movie.”
The Straight is 110 percent sure that S.B. Edwards will make more than one movie.
Fall Back Down screens at the Village 8 Cinemas next Thursday and Friday (December 5 and 6)