A&E » Film

Notes from the Back Row

Snow porn



Some people, those who have never actually made one, will call them "Snow Porn." And they'll say it with a real superior tone...

"Those movies are so predictable. Booter, booter, rail. Crash, rail, rail. Timelapse. Guy driving his snowmobile on pavement. Wrestling and/or partying naked. Blue, white, blue, white, establishing landscape shot. Repeat."

You hear a lot of talk this time of year, with snowfall looming, but the truth is that shots of snowmobiles driving on the highway keep popping up in ski and snowboard flicks because driving your sled on the road is really fun. And stuff that's fun almost never gets old.

And neither does day-dreaming of ripping hundred foot pillow lines, landing in virgin powder, straight-lining out the bottoms of steep, looming chutes or dropping cliffs so big they have trees growing out of them.

Fun is what "those" movies are about. Capturing, evoking, inspiring and preparing for fun. And the first one of the season, Sandbox's Day and Age , premieres Saturday Sept 10 at Millennium Place in Whistler.

Sandbox's Kevin Sansalone and Clayton Larsen have been in the game a long time - Day and Age is their seventh movie - and they know how to make it look slick. North Americans have been watching movies about folks sliding down mountains since at least 1946 and there are hundreds of ski/snowboard films produced each year now. As well the Internet is literally infested with POV montages and amateur segments so the difficulty in keeping things visually interesting is paramount. The Day and Age crew has obvious skill and visual flair but they also have cameras mounted on remote control helicopters patrolling the streets like some kind of renegade government security force turned awesome. It rules.

So does Day and Age 's healthy amount of big mountain riding - Andrew Hardingham charges and Sansalone is back with a few tricks of his own, including a burly slough sequence that's my favourite shot in the film.

Wiley Tesso bombs some juicy pillowlines, Trevan Salmon spins real smooth and Dave Short is a rabid beast (and he has the helmet cams to prove it.)

Day and Age is 40 minutes of killer riding, greased rails, sick tricks, gnarly big mountain and a shitload of fun because Sandbox is all about having fun - otherwise they wouldn't film full-grown men grinding a rainbow.

What some people call "Snow Porn" is what gets kids excited to go out and spend that money saved landscaping all summer - spend it on a new snowboard, on a pass, on rent. These movies are what incite people to pack into a van and drive for three days to get here. Snow Porn, especially the stuff made locally, keeps our industry moving and keeps it moving forward with every younger generation getting stoked on the things that look like fun. Day and Age kicks off a busy premiere season that won't end until after the Whistler Film Festival in early December. Summer was half-ass, winter is here.

The good old Village 8 is also opening a slew of new flicks this week, including The Debt and the this-might-happen-any-day pandemic thriller Contagion starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet and directed by Steven Soderberg. It looks awesome.

And keep your eyes open for Terrence Malick's Tree of Life, supposedly coming later this month and starring Brad Pitt. Malick ( The Thin Red Line ) is notorious for making solid-but-unconventional films (aka: hard to understand) and I haven't seen this one yet but you can bet the same people who scoff at "Snow Porn" will all say they love Tree of Life . Even if they don't.