Return to tiff.’s home page

Canadian Film Encyclopedia

Shopping Cart

The Top of His Head

Year: 1989
Language: English
Runtime: 110 min
Director: Peter Mettler
Producer: Niv Fichman
Writer: Peter Mettler
Cinematographer: Peter Mettler, Gerald Packer, Tobias Schliessler
Editor: Peter Mettler, Margaret Eerdewijk
Sound: John Martin, Adrian Croll, Hans Strobl
Music: Fred Frith, Jane Siberry
Cast: Gary Reineke, Christie MacFadyen, Stephen Ouimette, Julie Wildman, David Fox
Production Company: Grimthorpe Film

Set in Montreal, New York and Venice, this adaptation of a Robert Lepage stage piece uses plate tectonics as a metaphor for the ways people merge and shift their identities. Featuring Lepage himself as a gender-bending art teacher, the film features elegant, innovative and often improvised camera work (by both Mettler and Miroslaw Baszak) across a wide variety of spaces.

The original stage production was itself a product of sustained improvisation exercises, in which Mettler participated for nearly a year. Mettler has said that Lepage "brings people together and has them jam. That was a process I could really relate to, because it was what I had already been doing." Although Tectonic Plates (like The Top of His Head) was produced by Rhombus Media, it bears many parallels to Mettler's earlier, more independent work. It is similar to Eastern Avenue in that it tries to make art receptive to experiment, accident and instinct. Tectonic Plates feels like a conversation between Mettler and Lepage, both of whom have a strong and clearly visible creative presence throughout.

By: Jerry White

Related Entries