Suppose you’re like me and occasionally like your post-apocalyptic thriller movies on the artsy side. In that case, you’ll be excited to learn of Polaris, a new film by KC Carthew, premiering at the Fantasia film festival on July 14.
Set in 2144 against the harsh backdrop of a frozen wasteland, Sumi, a human child raised by Mama Polar Bear, narrowly escapes capture from a brutal Morad hunting party and sets out across the vast winter landscape. When Sumi stumbles across Frozen Girl, an unlikely friendship is forged, and together they race ahead of the vindictive hunters towards the only guiding light Sumi knows, the Polaris star.
The story appears to fall under the typical post-apocalyptic thriller vein—wasteland survivalist makes an ally and fights raiders—but where Polaris brings new light to the genre is in the details. The story features an all-female cast and includes a new language that is not accompanied by subtitles. I’m very excited to see the former, as angry girls taking revenge is a theme I’m always here for. The latter won’t bother me (as I once watched a bootleg copy of Virus, 1980, not realizing there should have been subtitles for certain scenes). I often enjoy it when movies employ this technique, so you focus on body language over dialogue. It can also serve to make the movie more immersive.
Canadian director KC Carthew is known for bold visuals and world-building. Her 2017 debut film The Sun At Midnight won 9 awards internationally and also takes place in a frozen wilderness. As such, I imagine Polaris will be rife with gorgeous landscape shots, high tension, and, given all the posters and still shots, enormous rage.
Polaris stars 13-year-old Korean-Canadian actress Viva Lee as well as Khamisa Wilsher, Muriel Dutil, and Kara Wooten.
The film premieres at the Fantasia Festival on July 14 and will be released in select theatres in Canada.