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3 out of 4 stars

My Prairie Home
Directed by
Chelsea McMullan

Beautifully shot, this documentary-meets-musical-meets-road-movie is a sad, hopeful, gorgeous work of poetry – a cinematic essay built around the talented Rae Spoon, the Alberta-born and raised transgender alt-country indie singer/songwriter profiled here. This is genre-bending stuff, with gorgeous, slow scenes of the Canadian Prairies, wonderfully weird performances of Spoon's music, and candid interviews which reveal a thoughtful intellect, sprung up from troubled beginnings: Pentecostal parents obsessed with the Rapture, an abusive father, gender confusion on the Prairies. Made in conjunction with Spoon's stunningly revelatory acoustic release My Prairie Home, this contemplative affair suffers only from leaving too much out. While the character revelation by vignette is powerful, it would be nice to know some of the basics, too: the state of Spoon's career, relationships, home – and more about how the artist navigates this cruel, beautiful world, day-to-day.

At VIFF: Sept. 29, 9:15 p.m., Rio (world premiere); Oct 1, 4 p.m., Rio

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