Running time:94 minutes
Director:Kelsey Egan
Release date:Not communicated
The established equilibrium is about to collapse with the arrival of a mysterious stranger who breaks into a family's shelter. A mother (Adrienne Pearce) and her three daughters, romantic Bee (Jessica Alexander), sensitive Evie (Anja Taljaard) and nature's child Daisy (Kitty Harris), live in a glass building that has been completely sealed off to protect its inhabitants from an insanity-inducing toxin, Shred, which poisons the air outside. In addition to their daily responsibilities of guarding and harvesting the vast crops that keep them alive, the two elders must care for their brother Gabe (Brent Vermulen), unable to care for himself after being exposed to the toxin in the past. Terrified of ending up like those lost souls wandering the outer abyss, the family members maintain a hold on their past by observing sacred rituals. When Bee breaks the rules and welcomes a wounded stranger (Hilton Pelser) into their home, the family dynamic is shaken forever, as hidden truths shatter illusions the women have tried to maintain.

Mulder's Review

The current period seems to have become a colossal source of inspiration for many productions, judging by the excellent The Sadness and Glashouse, which were screened during the Fantasia festival. In these two films, it is impossible not to wonder about a future evolution of the current variants, or even the appearance of new viruses or various toxins. The fact of having to confine oneself could have remained for a long time in our memories as only present in the films of anticipation seen in the cinema or on streaming platforms. Cinema has always been an important vector to better understand an era. This is particularly true when we go back to films from the 70s, 80s or 90s to revisit with nostalgia a period that has marked our past. 

The reason Glasshouse works so well is that it confronts viewers with a not-so-distant future in which new viruses or toxins have changed our current society forever. By taking a look at the possible evolution of our society, Glasshouse fascinates and seems to show the end of our humanity. In this film, a family survives The Shred, confined to their greenhouse, a toxin that erases memory. Until the sisters are seduced by a stranger who shatters their peace and awakens a past best left buried. Writers Emma De Wet, Kelsey Egan deliver a dystopian fable in which past and present collide and bring to life a universal story about memory and being human.

It is interesting to see that the South African film industry can easily find its place in the global film landscape. Director Kelsey Egan delivers here a very good film with a neat image and a perfectly directed cast of young actresses. By focusing on the importance of memory and the dislocation of the family cocoon, Glasshouse proves to be fascinating while succeeding in creating an anguished climate. Shot on location in the Ggebera (Port Elizabeth) region of South Africa, this film marks the very promising debut of director Kelsey Egan

Glasshouse is the image of our society today, underneath its tranquil appearance lies a never-ending war in which everyone seeks the best possible place and in which innocence is often trampled by recurring waves of violence and deception. Will our current sad period ever see a revival and the return of a true optism or are these the first signs of the decline of a humanity on the verge of extinction and facing a nature that seems to take its revenge against the many ravages of humans.

Directed by Kelsey Egan
Produced by Greig Buckle
Written by Emma De Wet, Kelsey Egan 
Starring Jessica Alexander, Adrienne Pearce, Hilton Pelser, Anja Taljaard, Brent Vermeulen
Music by Patrick Cannell
Cinematography : Justus de Jager
Edited by Rowan Jackson
Release date : August 16, 2021 (Fantasia)
Running time : 94 minutes

Seen on August 16, 2021 (Fantasia screener press)

Mulder's Mark: