Black Conflux – teenage angst and alienation in 1980s Newfoundland
Black Conflux is a dreamy account of two converging lives. The seemingly separate lives of an anxious, disillusioned teen girl and a troubled, alienated man converge fatefully in this haunting exploration of womanhood, isolation, and toxic masculinity, set in 1980s Newfoundland.
The film stars Ella Ballentine as Jackie, a teenage girl whose quest for independence leads her into the orbit of Dennis (Ryan McDonald), a mentally unstable and potentially violent man in his twenties.“Fifteen-year-old Jackie is navigating the tricky transition between vulnerable adolescence and impending adulthood. The film opens with Jackie auditioning for her school choir with a gorgeous rendition of “Hey, Who Really Cares?”, by obscure early-’70s psychedelic folk singer Linda Perhacs. It’s a symbolic overture for a promising young woman from a broken home. Raised by her aunt and living under the cloud of all the disappointments endured by the women in her family, Jackie finds herself giving in to internal and external pressures — partying, skipping school, and hitchhiking — in search of her own identity. Her choices leave her speeding inevitably towards Dennis (Ryan McDonald), a socially inept loner with a volatile dark streak and delusional fantasies of adoring women at his beck and call.
Originally premiered at TIFF 2019. Available from Vortex Media August 27, 2021
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.