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Video Review: Late Fragment

Late Fragment offers an interactive DVD experience for viewers to see not only interactions in a restorative process but also the complex stories of individuals trapped into violence and trauma.

Produced by Anita Lee, Ana Serrano, and Silva Basmajian. Co-production of the Canadian Film Centre and the National Film Board of Canada. Full Running time 168 minutes.

In restorative encounters the parties to crime are given opportunities to present and receive additional information that can significantly modify their understanding of what took place and why. This may resolve some issues for them, but it can also raise others.

Late Fragment’s interactive design gives viewers the opportunity to share in that process of discovery. Its complete running time is 168 minutes, but viewers decide how much of the complete story they wish to know. This adds layers of complexity as well as comprehensiveness as each of the stories unfold. Viewers witness the circumstances and humanity of the three characters who have been caught up in crime, and users may even change portions of the story.

In this way, the complicated, fragmented lives of those caught up in violence and crime become more real and understandable. Viewers see hurting human beings who act and react in ways that bring pain and regret.

One of the three is Faye, who  participates in the restorative justice meetings as a victim. The story of her partner's murder and the consequences for her and her daughter unfolds in a series of short scenes that provide a jarring view of denial and victimization.

Theo seems to be a confident and handsome young man when he is working as a nightclub dancer and when he is with his partner. But he is also deeply troubled, participating in rituals of self-mutilation. His story unfolds to reveal childhood trauma that may explain much of his harmful behaviour -- both to himself and to others -- as a young adult.

Kevin works as a security guard and is caught up in alcohol, denial over a broken marriage, and worry for his estranged son. He radiates helplessness and fear, and finally erupts in violence leaving him feeling guilty,  remorseful, and stigmatised. During the restorative process, Kevin makes a powerful statement starting with the words, “I’m a murderer.” He feels like a regular guy but knows that others will only see him as a murderer. 

This is a creative, disturbing but also hopeful video production using cutting edge technology to provide powerful insight into the depths of the human heart.

Late Fragment is distributed through Mongrel Media and may be purchased from Amazon.ca for CND$29.99. Late Fragment is not rated but viewers should be aware of explicit violent and sexual content. 

Lynette Parker
October 2008

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