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I, Claudia

Year: 2004
Language: English
Format: Digital Betacam Colour
Runtime: 75 min
Director: Chris Abraham
Producer: Julia Sereny, Jennifer Kawaja
Writer: Kristen Thomson
Cinematographer: Kim Derko
Editor: David Wharnsby
Sound: Jody Ellis, Steve Cupani
Music: Christopher Dedrick
Cast: Kristen Thomson
Production Company: Sienna Films, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

An “official” pre-teen at twelve and three quarters, Claudia is still reeling from her parents= divorce. Her father is getting re-married, she has a science fair project coming due and she is in the physical and emotional throes of puberty. Precocious and charming, she=s capable of the most disarming honesty, but she=s also very tightly wound. Incensed by and incredulous at the adult world around her, she speaks to us from inside the boiler room of her school, though the audience is occasionally greeted by her caring grandfather Douglas, her brittle, soon-to-be stepmother Leslie, and Drachman, the school=s Bulgonian custodian.

A genuinely humane and touching work, I, Claudia was adapted by Toronto stage actress Kristen Thomson from her Dora Mavor Moore Award-winning play of the same name. Having developed the play over the course of two years of improvisations at the National Theatre School, Thomson portrays all four characters with the aid of specially made latex masks, which were made by theatre designer Abdel Kader Farrah and are reminiscent of classical Greek theatre.

The film has an intense and at times startling intimacy to it, strengthened by Thomson=s remarkable facility for writing in (and impersonating) various voices. Relying almost entirely on her voice, Thomson delivers a series of extraordinary performances, completely embodying each of her creations. Directed by Chris Abraham on minimalist sets in a quasi-documentary style, I, Claudia is evocative, heartbreaking and very funny. It was named one of Canada=s Top Ten of 2004 by an independent, national panel of filmmakers, programmers, journalists and industry professionals.

By: Steve Gravestock

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