Year of the Carnivore (Canada, 88 min)Written and directed by Sook-Yin Lee
Starring: Cristin Milioti, Mark Rendall, Linda Uyehara Hoffman, Sheila McCarthy, Will Sasso.
No, I’m not talking about David Cronenberg’s Crash or Atom Egoyan’s Chloe. Rather, there’s a brave new filmmaker on the Canadian film scene: Sook-Yin Lee, the CBC Radio host and former Much Music VJ. Year of the Carnivore isn’t Lee’s first foray into film, but it is her feature debut. Lee previously contributed to the 2008 anthology film Toronto Stories, in which her segment, “The Brazilian”, was really the only part of the film that was worth seeing.
Lee is probably most famous for her performance in John Cameron Mitchell’s sexually charged film Shortbus (which I’ll admit, I still haven’t seen). As she did in “The Brazilian”, which, you may guess, was about a girl working herself up the courage to get a Brazilian wax, Lee delivers a frank and humorous look at sexuality in Year of the Carnivore.
During their first time in bed, Sammy is extremely awkward and giggly – any move Eugene makes on her feels too ticklish and she can’t control herself. Put off by her inexperience, Eugene tells Sammy it’s off until she has learned a thing or two.
Eugene’s rejection spurns Sammy’s already low self-esteem, but she realizes that like a sexually frustrated teenager, she’s going to have to take matters into her own hands. Sammy embarks on a misguided odyssey into sexuality that begins by spying on her neighbor’s intimate moments and it develops by taking a somewhat more involved approach.
With the help of a sexy co-worker (Ali Liebert) and her wise old friend Miss Nakamura (Linda Uyehara Hoffman), Sammy learns that there is a lot more to sex than just doing it. Miss Nakamura teaches Sammy to gain confidence by improving her image and embracing her carnal instincts. Unfortunately, Sammy goes a little too far in her quest for knowledge and ends up becoming more of a nymphomaniac than an experienced woman.
Year of the Carnivore is currently playing in Toronto and it opens at the Bytowne in Ottawa on July 2nd.
(Note: Trailer contains naughty bits - ie: NSFW)