New on DVD: The Tracey Fragments

Tracey FragmentsThe Tracey Fragments is the compelling story of a strange young woman told through a series of flashbacks, split screens and multi-frame editing. Not only is it not confusing but the perfect visual interpretation of Maureen Medved’s book of the same name.

Fifteen-year-old Tracey Berkowitz (Ellen Page) is an outcast in her school and in her home; her peers taunt and bully her while her parents are usually too busy with their own problems to notice her. Her only ally is her younger brother Sonny, who believes he is a dog. In her attempts to escape the despair, she blurs the line between fantasy and reality. When a new boy starts at the school, Tracey feels her prayers have been answered. Billy Zero (Slim Twig) becomes her boyfriend and rock ‘n’ roll saviour. Of course, she is relaying the story wearing nothing but a flowered shower curtain on the back of a public bus.

Director Bruce McDonald fills the screen with numerous frames, employing an experimental style of editing that adds to the experience of the film rather than detract from it. Told non-chronologically, Tracey’s adolescent fantasies are intertwined with revealing narrative truths. The decision to be non-linear also communicates the confusion Tracey is experiencing as she relays the events of the previous days.

Even though the style is a dominant element of the film, it cannot over shadow Page’s performance. She portrays Tracey as strong but unsure, lapsing into girlish doting or dramatic concern effortlessly. Moreover, the music, provided solely by the indie collective Broken Social Scene, compliments the film completely.

The “behind-the-scenes” featurette provides a little insight into McDonald’s and Page’s approach to the character and film, which is auspiciously similar. Although they each refer to Tracey as a role model, at the very least she is a much-needed point of identification for teenage girls.

In addition, “Tracey Re-Fragmented” was a contest run on the official website offering fans the opportunity to create their own re-edit of the film using footage and music from the movie. The winner and runner-up compilations are included on the disc.

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