CUFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Censor’

CUFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Censor’

In Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, Gene Hackman plays Harry Caul, a man obsessed with his job. There are many loving close-ups of his hands as they fiddle with audial dials, which allows him to place heavy faith in a sanctified version of the apparatus. However, this belief in the truth inherent to media is largely what brings about Caul’s downfall.

While few will likely make the connection, Prano Bailey-Bond’s Censor owes a lot to Coppola’s masterpiece, particularly in the film’s opening where video nasty film censor Enid Baines (Niamh Algar) twists various dials to rewind and speed up a particularly gruesome death sequence. The belief here is that her work will carry her through difficult times, and possibly even allow her to repent for past sins. This hope is dashed when she comes across shock director Frederick North’s (Adrian Schiller) latest, which seems to resemble an incident from Enid’s past. With the world askew, Enid slowly descends into both madness and world of mad cinema.

Censor may connect to The Conversation. But it’s also a hell of a female panic film, in line with the mother of all female panic films—Žuławski’s Possession. Moreover, it’s impossible to watch this film and not want to track down as many of the so-called video nasties as possible. Bailey-Bond lovingly displays many within the opening credits of her film. But also, the film’s aesthetics seem calibrated towards the time. The sound design and score in particular harken back to the synth-laden scores of old.

For filmmaking by pastiche, Bailey-Bond succeeds greatly. This will likely tickle the fancy of horror aficionados everywhere, but this is more than just a clever homage. It’s deeply felt, and well-designed; a solid piece lies inside the grains of the tape.

This post was written by
Thomas Wishloff is currently an MA student at York University. He is new to the Toronto Film Scene, but has periodically written and podcasted for several now defunct ventures, and has probably commented on a forum with you at some point. The ex-Edmontonian has been known to enjoy a good board game, and claims to know the secret to the best popcorn in the world.
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