Director Marie-Ève Juste brings a dark look at relationships, and the roles we play in society, with her short film The Sands. Screening as part of Short Cuts Canada Programme 2 at TIFF 2014, the film follows a group of friends to a remote cottage for the weekend. The newest member of the group is much younger, and his relationship with one of the women of the group seems to make him the focus of jokes, with one eventually going too far. Toronto Film Scene had a chance to speak with Marie-Ève Juste about her short, and what she hopes people will take away from the film.

Describe your film in 10 words or less.

A woman and her young lover’s night on the lakeside.

What inspired you to make this film?

I wanted to write a film about two strange yet terrible feelings: fear and humiliation. And also, I wanted to write a film about how difficult it is to escape from social roles and archetypes.

What was the best thing about production? Most frustrating?

The best thing about the production was definitely the shooting. I had the chance to work with actors that were really committed to the script and that were willing to improvise in the group scenes. Also, I was really impressed by Ian Lagarde’s (the cinematographer) devotion and talent to recreate exactly a moonlight or a dark countryside house atmosphere. As usual, I’d say one of the most frustrating thing was the lack of time to shoot some scenes, especially the group ones.

What’s the one thing you want people to know about your film?

It’s a non-gentle love film that tries to illustrate how tightened we can be with our social roles and differences.

With Tom, you create a character that many people will empathize with, but towards the end, it becomes more difficult to connect with his choices. What do you want people to take away from his actions?

It’s all about grey zones, especially when meanness responds to itself. In the game that Tom plays with Josée, he’s pushed to an end where physical violence responds to psychological one, and where he’s unable to escape the role that he’s trapped in.

Your film is screening as part of TIFF — what are you most excited about seeing or doing at this year’s festival?

I’m really excited about seeing a big number of inspiring films. And on a more personal basis, I’m really anxious about presenting the film for the first time!

The Sands screens as part of Short Cuts Canada Programme 2 at TIFF 2014. Check their website for more information.