Archive of films The Tracey Fragments / The Tracey Fragments

2006, 80 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2007

The juxtaposition of a recurring horse motif and the central song of the film being “Land” from rock singer Patti Smith’s album Horses in the new film by Canadian experimenter Bruce McDonald, is no coincidence. Ellen Page gives a flat-out performance as a 15-year-old girl who has lost her little brother and sets out on a desperate journey to find both him and her own conscience and way of thinking. The film had its world premiere at the IFF in Berlin.


Maureen Medved began writing The Tracey Fragments at the end of the 1980s as a series of dramatic monologues. She was interested in whether she would be able to experiment and express such strong emotions in literature as could be expressed through modern dance performances, which she went to see almost every day. Over a few years, while Medved was very ill, the text became a novel. She later turned it into a screenplay. The heroine of the story is Tracey Berkowitz, a normal 15-year-old girl. While out for a walk she loses her little brother Sonny. Separate moments of Tracey’s hysterical search unfold in fragments through a series of scenes on a split screen: discussions with her parents and a psychiatrist, the violence that Tracey is exposed to at school, dangerous nights in the big city, running around from place to place, uneasy sleep on the back seat of a bus, sweet fantasies about love, as well as paranoia, lies, torturous visions, and the need to be forgiven. Made over the course of a fortnight followed by nine months of postproduction, the film has style, and a tough and tender, tragicomic, and disarming Ellen Page in the leading role. The film had its world premiere at the IFF in Berlin.

About the director

Bruce McDonald (b. 1959, Kingston, Canada), one of the most celebrated Canadian movie and television directors, after completing his studies began as an editor in films by Ron Mann, Peter Mettler, and Atom Egoyan. He worked as an assistant director on Norman Jewison’s Agnes of God. In 1989, McDonald filmed the first instalment of his Rock and Road Trilogy, which he completed in 1996 with an account of the tour of a legendary Vancouver punk band. All of his feature films, Roadkill (1989), Highway 61 (1991), Hard Core Logo (1996), Dance Me Outside (1994) and The Love Crimes of Gillian Guess (2004), were screened at the Karlovy Vary festival in 1995, 1997, and 2005. In addition to this, he has also created a wide range of short experimental and documentary films, as well as television movies and series. He co-founded the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto and his own production company Shadow Shows.

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Another View
Director: Bruce McDonald
Screenplay: Maureen Medved
Dir. of Photography: Steve Cosens
Music: Broken Social Scene
Editor: Jeremiah Munce, Gareth C.Scales
Producer: Sarah Timmins
Production: Tracey Fragments Inc.
Cast: Ellen Page, Ari Cohen, Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, Erin McMurtry, Slim Twig, Julian Richings


Bruce McDonald

Film Director, Film Director

Thorsten Ritter

Sarah Timmins


Ellen Page


Stefanie Zeitler


Thorsten Schaumann


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