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TIFF 2013 Review: Empire of Dirt


Empire of Dirt
Contemporary World Cinema

The film begins with Lena (Cara Gee) at her job cleaning houses. We quickly learn that she has a rebellious teenage daughter named Pika (Shay Eyre). We also learn that Lena had Pika when she was 16 and that she struggled with cocaine addiction for several years. It is implied her addiction problems contributed to the strained mother-daughter relationship. While Lena’s life might not seem very together on the surface she has come a long way to get there. Chaos ensues when Lena loses her job and Pika overdoes in an alleyway which causes Child Services to come knocking. The ever impulsive Lena breaks her daughter out of the hospital and they hitchhike back to her hometown in Northern Ontario.

Empire of Dirt offers a realistic portrayal of it’s characters. When they are hurt you care about them and you want to see them lift this curse of teen pregnancy and addiction that has engulfed their family for decades. Even when they are vulnerable or flawed each woman discovers a strength that courses through them and eventually realizes they can maximise that power if they band together as women, family, and survivors.

Friday September 6 – Scotiabank 2 – 9:45PM
Sunday September 8 – Scotiabank 14 – 9:15AM

[star v=35]