The Five Senses
Canada continues to quietly churn out fine films that, while they may never reach box-office-blockbuster status, are greatly appreciated by fans of thoughtful, high-quality cinema. The latest gift from the North is writer/director Jeremy Podeswa's The Five Senses, which nevertheless suffers from a few narrative hiccups. Its compelling exploration of human perception reminds one of another Canadian export, Atom Egoyan's brilliant The Sweet Hereafter. Senses' story rests on five loosely connected characters from the same building who are each absorbed by one of the senses. Rona (Mary-Louise Parker) is a baker whose pastries have no taste; her best friend Robert (Daniel MacIvor) is obsessed with categorizing people by smell; Ruth (Gabrielle Rose, the bus driver in Sweet Hereafter) is a masseuse out of "touch" with her angry young daughter, Rachel (Nadia Litz); and in the most moving of the sequences, ophthalmologist Gail (Pascale Bussières), in despair about going deaf, is rejuvenated by an unlikely source. Although Podeswa tends toward the melodramatic and some of the threads are weaker than others, there is still much to savor here.