What happens when youthful dreams crash into reality? In Firecrackers, writer and director Jasmin Mozaffari follows Lou and Chantal, two teenage Canadians who have saved every penny from their janitorial jobs for a one-way ticket to New York City. The two share this dream, but their ride-or-die mutual affection is threatened as impulsive actions meet swift and severe consequences. The ensuing fallout threatens the foundations of their worlds, identities, and understandings of each other.
While Lou and Chantal’s connection is the heart of the film, the viewpoint is almost constantly Lou’s; clothed almost exclusively in baggy T-shirts, long shorts and running shoes, she rages against her situation’s injustice and refuses to concede her desires. This anger threatens to consume and destroy her, her relationships and her plans; she is (at least retroactively) keenly aware of its counterproductivity, but compromise is an extreme last resort. In a way, she acts on an intense personal moral code that clashes with Chantal’s more strategic approach. The latter is no less determined to get out, but is more willing to use manipulation, deferral and compartmentalisation to reach the bright city lights.
The girls’ sense of desperation, compounded by these interpersonal frustrations, pervades every scene. Mozaffari sensitively and sympathetically explores how both protagonists use their bodies as a means of escape, either in temporary drug-fuelled release or in sex work towards that one-way ticket. While the town could be anywhere (in eastern Canada, that is) the set dressing and costumes create striking situations and characterisations; in seconds, class, personality and self-perceptions are evident.
The dream does not die by the time the credits roll; the understanding of its reality, however, is entirely altered. Firecrackers captures the moments of reckoning that define these girls’ coming of age, creating a compelling, non-judgmental portrait of survival and self-determination.
CAST: Michaela Kurimsky, Karena Evans, Callum Thompson, Tamara LeClair, David Kingston
DIRECTOR: Jasmin Mozaffari
WRITERS: Jasmin Mozaffari
SYNOPSIS: Two feisty Canadian teenagers dream of running away to New York City, blissfully unaware of the financial and emotional toll of that goal.