Illusions of Control

Illusions of Control

Shannon Walsh
Canada
2019
87 minutes

Resilience in the face of disaster is at the heart of Shannon Walsh’s expansive study. Shot across five different countries, Walsh introduces us to five courageous women, each encountering their own form of crisis: Silvia searches for her missing daughter in the deserts of northern Mexico; Yang attempts to curb desertification in China; Kaori mobilizes mothers as citizen-scientists in Fukushima, Japan; Stacey builds on Indigenous knowledge to confront toxic legacies in Yellowknife; and Lauren, a renowned philosopher, confronts her terminal cancer diagnosis.

Arresting landscape cinematography is seamlessly interwoven with interviews to evoke a collective sense of empathy, revealing surprising new ways to live on and reimagine a life beyond the ruins. A particularly resonant shot of a lone tree thriving in the desert captures the film’s spirit of endurance, leaving behind an uplifting and hopeful outlook for the uncertain future ahead. Ultimately, Illusions of Control unfolds as a remarkable collection of micro-narratives meditating on the human will to persevere. -AP