TIFF 2020: Point and Line to Plane (Sofia Bohdanowicz, Canada)

By Adam Nayman

The sterile, corkscrew expanse of the Guggenheim is a concrete geometric presence in Point and Line to Plane, which takes its title from a 1947 book of art theory by Wassily Kandinsky and is punctuated by images of his abstract canvases, as well as those of his lesser-known predecessor Hilma af Klint. Adrift in New York and stung by the unexpected death of a friend, Audrey Benac (played once again by Deragh Campbell, as ever a hybrid subject, star, and surrogate for director Sofia Bohdanowicz) botches the dates for an af Klint exhibition and balefully watches the paintings being installed from the sidelines. At this point, Bohdanowicz has a recognizable style and sensibility, and as ever with this filmmaker, Point and Line to Plane is heady and heartfelt, as well as (for the first time) a little bit mystical. Fatigue, grieving, insomnia, and other inchoate psychic states are juxtaposed against artworks conceptualizing inner worlds and spiritual phenomena. Awakened in the night by a falling picture frame at her friend’s house, Audrey photographs the shatter and texts its owner a helpless apology, a throwaway moment that evokes, however unintentionally, the millennial metaphysics of Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper (2016) and casts Bohdanowicz’s latest as a ghost story—one in which the living make their peace with the dead, instead of the other way around.