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Lancalot Freely

Year: 1980
Language: English
Runtime: 20 min
Director: Peter Mettler
Producer: Peter Mettler
Writer: Peter Mettler
Cinematographer: Peter Mettler
Editor: Peter Mettler
Sound: Peter Mettler
Music: Sandy MacFadyen, James Chance
Cast: Lancalot Freely, Kevin Jamieson

Made during Mettler's time at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, this short, self-contained documentary - in which some of the more important characteristics of Mettler's work are clearly taking shape - goes against the grain of many tenets that film schools ostensibly strive to instill. A portrait, not a narrative, the film is comprised primarily of wandering, handheld shots and still, self-consciously minimalist compositions. During one sequence, the film's only character hurls the most ridiculously obscene insults directly at the viewer. But while its rough-hewn quality is certainly consistent with the personality of the young man at its centre (an old friend of Mettler's who has become caustic and angry), the film is also elevated by striking moments of lyricism that hint at hidden depths to this otherwise abrasive character.

Lancalot Freely'sinterest in portraying the workings of a troubled psyche presages the concerns of Scissere. That the inner life of the film's protagonist is hinted at rather than evoked directly is a preview of things to come for Mettler, whose later films all explore the difficulty of relaying intangible thoughts and experiences to the viewer. 

By: Jerry White

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