Following a ripple of consequence
IF YOU LIVE IN THIS CITY (or maybe any city) for a significant amount of time, it’s both sad and likely that someone in your life will find themselves on drugs, dealing drugs, selling themselves and hoping for a way out. Our lives are all connected to a certain degree, and seemingly invisible actions can have dramatic results for other people. The ripples of consequence run much further than we can see.
Vancouver director Ross Weber’s new film Mount Pleasant follows the course of events that begin when a little girl is poked by a needle she finds in the alley behind her family’s new Mount Pleasant home. Weaving together disparate stories, it’s a strong and insightful film that follows a moment in the lives of a suburban family, a 15-year-old prostitute, the little girl and her
parents as they all face a turning point in their lives that stems from a single incident.
ONLY: You wrote the movie as well as directed it. Was there anything that directly inspired you in terms of the primary incident in this story?
Ross Weber: The house in the movie is my house that we bought a few years ago. And when we moved in, there were drug houses just down the block and prostitutes on the streets, so that was really the inspiration. And like Doug in the movie, I got involved with a community group.
ONLY: In the movie Doug has this moment of disbelief or realisation that he might not actually be helping the situation. Was that based on your experience with the community group?
RW: I don’t know if I meant it quite like that… The fact is that by just standing by a prostitute isn’t going to stop her from working, all it does is push it into another neighbourhood…
ONLY: While it is a relationship film, it also touches on some social-political aspects. Would you consider it a social-political film?
RW: To a degree it can’t help but be that, but I didn’t want to be judgmental about people’s situations. I’m no expert, but in the end when I was writing the script, as a writer and as a filmmaker I was most interested in the story of the characters and whether the relationships were believable.
ONLY: The relationship between Doug and his wife is quite understated. One of the most interesting moments is when she tells him, “If Courtney is sick I don’t think that we’re going to make it.” It feels like a terrible ultimatum.
RW: Absolutely, I wrote the script with these things in mind, but it was really to all the actors’ credit that they were able to bring those kinds of emotional aspects out.
ONLY: While dealing with the dark themes of drug addiction and prostitution you decided to set the film outside of the Downtown Eastside. Do you think that allowed you to tell some different stories?
RW: In Mount Pleasant, while it’s doesn’t have the bars and that kind of thing like the Downtown Eastside, the same kind of stuff is going on. There is open prostitution and drugs. I was speaking to Ben Ratner [Doug in Mount Pleasant] and lives downtown, and we realized that we both experience the same kind of thing. I think that the same problems exist pretty much everywhere,
which is definitely troubling.
Mount Pleasant is now playing daily at Empire Granville 7