On a salvage ship in Lake Ontario, the captain’s young wife is drawn to an old shipmate and his haunting tales. Dredger screens in Short Cuts Programme 7 at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.
Phillip Barker returns to TIFF with this avant-garde short featuring the stunning production design of Rob Hepburn. Though set on a salvage ship, settings range from the rusty vessel, to wide lake view shots, to vintage flashbacks. Barker’s characters also contrast with their surroundings, a pretty young girl in a shift dress standing amongst the machinery of a boat, and a gruff old shipmate in a cabin full of sepia photos and toy treasures. The counterpoint in these visuals beautifully accentuate both characters and surroundings.
Dredger is certainly not driven by dialogue, audiences are left to interpret meaning for themselves through Barker’s imagery, which grows to be further dream-like as the film progresses. Visuals of characters becoming adrift are imaginative and memorable. Then he ties it altogether with an ethereal score featuring a recurring piano melody that serves to evoke emotion from the viewer.