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Slamdance 2019 Review: “Impetus” (2018) ★★★


© Paul Martin

The power of letting go, an ability to not get stuck in the past, desire to leave the comfort zone, forget what hurts, changing habits are what make us remain in the zone in which we feel fulfilled and complete. But once we leave it, what happens then? How do we feel? How do we cope with the impulsion? What do we tell ourselves what is okay to stick to and what is not? “Impetus” is an interesting and philosophical documentary film that combines all the human struggles told in an unusual narrative often overlooked in documentaries or feature films.

“Impetus” follows the nature of force that moves our body, mind, how we navigate through pain, loss, love, in our daily lives. While shooting the film in New York City, for director Jennifer Alleyn, things change in an unexpected way when she begins shifting her narrative from one lead to another, from Montreal to New York City, the viewer finds itself in a small world that explores the aspect of life in a larger and more compelling way.

Featuring Pascale Bussieres as Pascale, Emmanuel Schwartz as Rudolph, J. Reissner as John, Esfir Dyachkov as Esfir, Besik Kazarian as the taxi driver, and Beatrice McAviney as Carla, “Impetus” slowly builds up into a deeply moving docufilm of self-portrait, how to escape framinism, and overall as an essay of human life evolved around certain individuals that are either happy in life or not, lonely or married. Despite their differences, they all go through the same stages of life, uncertainty and bravery in their own way.

That said, there are not many documentaries that would take such an interesting approach, to explore the human aspect of life, tell multiple stories within one story. The closing scene between Pascale and the taxi driver is all what we need to look at, to see ourselves, or our reflection of what we may become if we take opportunities for granted, if we pass from one day to another leaving no meaning behind.

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