Broken Social Scene score with Bruce MacDonald 

Toronto band weave their sonic magic for Love Crimes of Gillian Guess


Despite a shamelessly endearing dorkiness they’ve been heralded as the harbingers of a new Canadian cool – a nebulous collection of musicians at times numbering upwards of nine or 10 on stage. Toronto’s Broken Social Scene breaks the mould when it comes to bands, sound, image, you name it, their honesty and lush arrangements winning them dedicated fans the world over.

Don’t get your hopes up. The band is not scheduled to make an appearance in Whistler anytime soon. However, local BSS fans can taste the magic at the Whistler Film Festival this weekend. The band produced the film score for Canadian director Bruce MacDonald’s latest film The Love Crimes of Gillian Guess , which screens Friday, Dec. 3 at 9:30 p.m. at Village 8 Cinemas.

For those who weren’t around these parts in the late 1990s, Guess is the notorious bombshell juror convicted of obstructing justice after it was revealed she had carried on an affair with Peter Gill, one of the suspects on trial for first degree murder. Guess and the rest of the jury acquitted. The affair was uncovered and Guess was taken down, fighting to the end that she had fallen in love, nothing more.

For those cringing at the TV Movie of the Week insinuations of the title and subject matter, rest assured, neither MacDonald nor Broken Social Scene would do such a thing.

The surreal, rock ’n’ roll film digs into the psychology of Guess’s outrageous act, exploring a sad past and humouring her delusions. The film centres around a Jerry Springer-on-acid TV talk show on which guest Guess, played superbly by Joely Collins, tells her trashy story. MacDonald film mainstay and Headstones frontman Hugh Dillon is on board as slimy host Bobby Tomahawk, whom he plays to the sharkskinned hilt.

The less than straightforward film mixes film genres and styles with abandon, from Technicolor ’70s sitcom sets to anime to muted super 8. An ambitious project to direct; an ambitious project to score.

To find out more, Pique Newsmagazine caught up with Broken Social Scene producer David Newfeld, who joined the band as a writer and player for the film score and co-engineered the project with Ohad Benchetrit of the band Do Make Say Think.

PIQUE: Was this the band's first experience working with Bruce MacDonald? Has BSS done film scores for other directors?

Dave Newfeld: Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene had pitched Bruce for an earlier film a few years back but didn't get it, so this time Bruce made sure it happened. I think as a band, this is for sure our first proper film score.

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