Kardia (2006) / Drama-Mystery
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but probably PG for subject matter
Running time: 85 min.
Cast: Mimi Kuzyk, Peter Stebbings, Ariel Waller, Kristin Booth, Stephen Lobo, Donna Goodhand
Director: Su Rynard
Screenplay: Su Rynard
Review published June 16, 2007
Hope (Kuzyk, I Do but I Don't) is a pathologist who muses that people can die of a broken heart, though she never officially claims such from a scientific standpoint. Her blood cells tell of her past, but she knows that a heart operation at an early age, apparently abandoned by her birth parents, has left her with the blood of another donor, which causes her to ask whose life's story her blood reveals. To understand who she is, Hope tries to find facts about who she is and the man she has come to call her father (Stebbings, K-19), as well as what happened to the donor who gave so generously when she was just an infant.
Su Rynard (whose own father died of heart failure) delivers a nicely presented mood piece about love, loss, and what the lack of it can do to the human body. Even at 85 minutes, it's a slow-moving tale of a woman's reminiscences about her childhood, and of the longings she had for some semblance of love in her life that she desperately craved. That love comes in the form of her father figure, whom she would come to call "Dad", a man struggling with his eyesight, recalling the familiar phrase, "Love is blind".
Elegantly shot by Kim Derko (The Law of Enclosures, Clutch), with effectively moody scoring by Philip Strong (Ski Bums, Year of the Lion), Rynard weaves her story between events of the present and how they reflect on the past, at least as she sees it from the point of view of a middle-aged woman. Rynard is an artist first and filmmaker second, and her artistry shows in this interesting metaphor for love and emotion as analyzed under the microscope of science. Much is made regarding the presence of things we cannot see -- just because they are not visible doesn't mean they aren't there. Love is certainly something tangible, though always disregarded from a scientific standpoint.
Kardia is a sentimental tale, and affecting in its story, although it certainly will be too slow and philosophical to the taste of many viewers out there. If you enjoy emotional films that are observed through the analytical mind of a person of intellect, it does make for thought-provoking, and even some stirring viewing. However, it does require you to be in tune with the poetic message it delivers, as well as the deliberate, dream-like pacing Rynard requires, lowering pulse rates in order that we have ample time to think and reflect on just what she is trying to say about love, heart, and the state of the human condition when love seems out of reach.
©2007 Vince Leo