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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 04.14.16] Canada scifi comedy dystopic

The 1950's. Virgin births, once considered a last ditch effort on the part of women to explain an indiscretion, are on the rise. They've become so commonplace that scientists the world over begin to think that there might be some scientific explanation for the phenomenon. It's soon discovered that through a leap in the revolutionary rung, women have begun to reproduce asexually. The ball begins to roll: men continue to die off, women stop getting married, asexual reproduction means no transfer of the Y chromosome which means no male babies are being born and soon, we end up at the present of No Men Beyond This Point.

At the centre of the mockumentary is Andrew Myers (Patrick Gilmore), an unassuming housekeeper who happens to be the youngest man in the world and who reluctantly becomes a spokesman for a movement to prevent the extinction of men. Andrew's story acts as the emotional in into this new world but for me, writer/director Mark Sawers' movie works mostly because the dystopia he creates is really interesting.

No Men Beyond This Point intercuts Andrew's story with talking head interviews with "experts" which provide a fascinating overview of this other world and the actions and events that have led to the current circumstances. The key to the movie's success is that it doesn't feel like a completely alien world; everything feels plausible, from the creation of a world government and the eradication of war and hunger to the "science" that leads to the near extinction of men. This world feels like a very real place with relatable problems.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Sawers' movie is the observations he makes about a world ruled by women. The global problems of hunger and war have been solved but the female led world government isn't all rainbows and unicorns. Sawers imagines a world where power corrupts women just as much as it does men and soon, the leadership begins to pass laws that suppress large sections of the female population.

A concept that could easily be written off as too ridiculous to pursue turns out to be one of the most interesting exercises in cultural sociology I've seen in some time. Sawers' determination to keep the movie grounded in reality mixed with a fantastic cast which unquestionably sells this "reality," pays off. There isn't a single false note in any of the performances, including that of Tom McBeath as Jim, the loudmouth leader of a men's rights group who, most of the time, doesn't seem to know what he's talking about.

No Men Beyond This Point is both fascinating and fun to watch. I found myself completely engrossed and though it is completely satisfying, I could have spent a few more hours in this universe.

No Men Beyond This Point opens in Vancouver on April 15 and in Toronto April 23. Though no dates have been announced, the movie has been picked up for US release by Samuel Goldwyn Films.

Recommended Release: Man Bites Dog

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