Filmmaker Michael McGowan has brought his favorite author Mary Twain’s novel “All My Puni Source” to the Toronto International Film Festival. The book, adapted for the McGowan screen, deals with family ties, religion, grief and suicide. The film stars Alison Peel, a creative blocker, a divorcee and a teenage girl, the pianist sister of her successful but suicidal concert (Sarah Gaddon), their mother (Mary Winningham) and their Mennonite nurture and father’s suicide remains. Despite the heavy theme, there is love, hope and lots of black humor throughout the film and the strong acting of the three main characters, obviously enjoying the task of bringing these complex characters to the screen.
What attracted you to this story?
I was examined for reasons of suicide, and reasons for wanting to die. I haven’t seen this test before, and I think it has three roles that I thought would make for a great movie. And while trying to adapt the book it seemed like it could be universal and it has the potential for this great performance.
Was Mary involved in the film at all?
He was very encouraging and, you know, he was great throughout the process and so I thought if he didn’t support adaptation I wouldn’t have moved on with it. He was helpful throughout the process from the start, talking to me about the struggle to adapt and adapt the novel to read the draft, to have conversations with the actors, to give us ideas for designing the set, and to allow us to be a great supporter in general.
Do you have any experience with the Mennonite community?
No, but I think this idea of spreading religion over society – I mean, I became a Catholic in a big Catholic family and from that point of view I can relate to it. I went to Catholic grade school and high school so you could understand the universality of religious influence in a community and personally.
What do you say to the humor in the film?
I think it would be if I didn’t do it for humor, but it was really a function of the novel and I could carry it. Because in a weird way, I think the film is lifting, although it goes into places probably not the lift.[It’s] There is really a shorthand for language between the two [sisters], And even in the most crude desperate times, they can find ভাষা the language of humor. It’s almost a release and I think it was one of the most beautiful things in the novel. Even in the editing process, the joke was never meant to be a joke – it’s not that kind of story – and always making sure it felt like a trilingual character. [would use]. It makes them so close.
Suicide is a difficult subject.
I think that’s what really attracted me to the novel because it came out of the truth of life, and it was presented with empathy, and in a way that I hadn’t really seen before and especially with everything during the epidemic that just seemed more relevant. It was an interesting subject to examine cinematically.