The Canadian Film Fest (CFF) is an indie-spirited festival dedicated to celebrating Canadian filmmakers. The third edition of the festival begins Tuesday, March 22 and will run Tuesday to Saturday for two consecutive weeks, presenting ten feature films and 28 short films as part of the virtual festival experience. This year’s slate of compelling Canadian features and shorts includes 50% female and 40% BIPOC filmmakers.
As many of us know, the bond between grandchildren and their grandparents can be such a precious relationship. Having spent most of my childhood with my grandparents, all that time has cultivated a jewel box of memories which only become more meaningful as you age. Often the simplest of moments, just sitting at the dinner table together for instance, tease the shiniest glimmers of hope that somehow, you can go back in time and cherish the simplicity. The sentiment is shared in Kaitlyn Lee’s short film Not My Age, a simple-sounding story that finds resonating emotion through the looking glass of intergenerational bonds. One of 28 new shorts showcased in the Canadian Film Fest this year, Not My Age is a sweet reminder to live each day to the fullest. The story centers on a young-at-heart Korean Grandma who breaks her leg on a nightly adventure with her Granddaughter. From the perspective of a grandmother, the film invites an understanding of the restlessness in aging. The protagonist is reminded of time and the passing of it, but also that age is not a limit when it comes to capabilities.
Kaitlyn Lee brings an instinctual, intuitive voice to this story. She follows the emotions of the story, all the feelings from what is left unsaid between the two characters in her film. Maki Yi and Jennifer Cheon both deliver great performances that embody the sweet relationship between grandmother and granddaughter. They evoke a relatable dynamic of the youngest wanting to be more mature, while the oldest has a more rebellious spirit and wants to embody a youthful spirit. Lee draws this dynamic from the grandmother breaking her leg, which is a resonating way of conveying the way physical change can put things into perspective and create more wistfulness for the way things were if that change never happened.
Also evocative is the title, Not My Age. A reminder not to utilize age as a determinant factor for what makes people who they are, how they feel, what they are capable of. The film carries a desire of understanding the intergenerational bond between a grandmother and her granddaughter, how the gaps between them can grow closer over time. As well, it’s a refreshing perspective in the coming-of-age genre. Rather than portray the younger character as rebellious or reckless, Lee focuses on the grandmother’s rebellion and ponders on the notion of aging. So often in films, older women are depicted as joyless, “buzzkills” who ruin all the fun, essentially not fully rounded human beings who can be everything at once. Lee brings a more-than-welcome different perspective and shows a character who is far more interesting. Not My Age is a thoughtful, sweet story with a bright glow of promise for filmmaker Kaitlyn Lee.
Not My Age will screen with the feature film ‘Beneath the Surface’ at CFF on Thursday March 31, 2022. Visit https://www.canfilmfest.ca/how-to-watch for more details. Follow along with CFF @CanFilmFest on Twitter/Instagram with the hashtags #CanFilmFest and #CanFilmFestOnSuperChannel.