Anti-Social Limited (2014) written and directed by Rosie Dransfeld is a character driven reality drama documenting the life of Chris Hoard, a forty something Canadian First Nations man who is trying to break free from his past and carve a new life for himself.
The opening scene is of an animated, articulate Chris Hoard introducing himself as psychopath which immediately grabbed my attention. My curiosity was piqued for I wanted not only to find out who this man was but why did he label himself so. The opening scene is followed by a brief and visually powerful scene of Chris Hoard walking alone down a white walled institutional corridor bathed in incandescent light toward the camera which not only left me with an unsettled feeling but more importantly hinted at his backstory.
Dransfeld films Chris as he tries to get his business off the ground, a native construction business to be comprised of First Nations people while interspersing his backstory in the narrative which makes Anti-Social Limited a powerful documentary. Chris takes us on a disheartening journey into his past narrating the reasons he is what he. On a visit to the former Edmonton Remand Centre which closed due to overcrowding, Chris tells us that he spent time there but more importantly he tells us that he has spent 25 years of his life in and out of jail for drug dealing and assaults. Seeing a dejected Chris sit in a jail cell made me teary eyed. On a walk through his former home, he tells us that his adoptive father Roy physically and emotionally abused him. On a visit to his former elementary school, he tells us that he was taunted by another child who had followed him about for more than a year and persisted in calling him racial slurs until he couldn’t take it anymore and in anger and frustration, acted out physically against this other child. On a visit to a cemetery, Chris tells us that his older brother Farrell Hoard (1967 – 1991) who died a junkie.
Dransfeld creates an intimate portrait of a socially awkward, jaded but charming and intelligent man with a long list of labels by juxtaposing his past with his present situation as he struggles with setbacks to pursue his dream. Even if he doesn’t see it, Chris is more than his labels as we all are. But Chris isn’t without friends, and felt that he didn’t really want to be alone in the world despite the company of his lovely cats. His tenuous relationship with Dale, a friend of his deceased older brother Farrell, who reaches out to him, perhaps offers a sign of hope in the film. It touched me to see the two playing ball and catch and Chris joining Dale and his family on an outing to the zoo.
I saw Anti-Social Limited as a metaphor for First Nations men like Chris Hoard and other Canadian men who are disadvantaged from birth, marginalized because of ancestry, colour or disability and who fall through the cracks while coping with addictions, mental health issues and/or poverty. The documentary has tremendous educational value and in my opinion, can serve as a vehicle to promote social change and understanding. I highly recommend it for you won’t be disappointed.
Anti- Social Limited will be playing at
Scotiabank Theatre 7 on May 6 @ 2:00 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased here!