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Black Horror Films: Mariner (2017)

"I’ve had weird moments in life and I’ve had to pull weird things out of myself sometimes from situations I’ve gotten into, so that’s what that’s about. [Pulling] things out of yourself – things that you need when you need them."

-Thyrone Tommy's interview with ByBlacks

An intense psychological thriller that's brilliantly subtle, Mariner presents the mind of Nate (Thomas Olajide), a focused marine navigation cadet whose extreme anxiety is at its pinnacle during his final exams. But his memories, both real and surreal triggers, threaten to damper his opportunity at moving forward. What is pleasantly intriguing about Mariner is its talent as a short to display such a meaty, meaningful character study through simple visual cues that tell you Nate's life story in a mere glance.

Toronto based, award-winning filmmaker Thyrone Tommy, wanted to extend a fantasy tale about his "own time as a sole, black marine navigation cadet in college, before leaving to become a filmmaker. The film explores mental health, anxiety, as well as the Black Canadian experience, in predominately white industries and spaces." It's an evergreen operation of thrillers to make their main characters feel condensed and isolated. As the only Black character on screen, Nate's visual focus on and complicated relationship with his peers and superiors are nods to the experiences of marginalized people. These touches are at once jarring, subtle, and culturally unnerving. Mariner goes much deeper with the approach to mental health by maintaining its very imperfect and very human experience is the film's universal touchstone. 

Mariner and its superlative storytelling landed its way into the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, Cannes as the Best of Canadian Film, and more. While a feature adaptation is in the works, you can catch the short people all over are buzzing about, including becoming Vimeo's Staff Pick now.



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