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“I breathe in, I breathe out. The conversation with myself starts.”

Peak vulnerability nestled in the confines of 4:3, Cal Mac’s Agony To Ecstasy is an expression of love lost and passions surrendered. The banal restrictions of lockdown that we all suffered through three years back sets the film’s purpose swinging into motion. The film opens up with a conversation that reflects on the narrator’s time in the Edinburgh club scene and the longing for dancing your heart out with a crowd full of people in the vicinity. The images of a packed mass gathered together in rhythm is contrasted with a man dancing alone in the night, bouncing and stomping around on the grass in a borderline rage. Another way to get around the pain during a time of forced isolation. You could no longer lose yourself in the moment, instead having no choice but to reflect on your own wants and fears for months at a time. These clips are also interspersed with Cal skateboarding down the gorgeous countryside, the fun of pure recreation contrasted with the isolated nature of no one around to gander at or witness run about. The second half of the film changes up the visual language while still maintaining the same concerns about the past, the present, and where he’s currently headed. Mac’s father recalls a time where his son became something reminiscent of a fish in the water, it reminds us of the purity of youth and how we’re ultimately morphed by the environment around us. This brief excerpt also fits with the standing of the rest of the film, questioning our need to be dependent on everything and everyone else rather than being content with ourselves whenever in a solitary state.

(written by Diego Garcia; cover by Jonah Breaux)

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