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The Burning Season

Two people who are inextricably linked together by a significant moment in the past reconnect over the course of 7 years in Sean Garrity and Jonas Chernick’s latest collaboration The Burning Season. Chernick explores love and trauma in an ambitious way that will keep you hooked until the final moments.


When JB (Jonas Chernick) and Alena (Sara Canning) reconnect at the resort he owns, the pair engage in an illicit affair behind their partner's back. As the affair starts to run deeper it becomes clear it’s not the only secret JB and Alena are harbouring. A moment in their past connects them beyond their secret love for each other.


Sometimes it isn’t about the story but more how the story is told. If The Burning Season was presented in chronological narrative order it wouldn’t stand out from any other romantic drama. Jonas Chernick - lead actor and screenwriter - instead flips the book and tells the story backwards. This is where The Burning Season thrives. In the opening scene we are presented with a moment tinged with history but bereft of context. What ultimately comes off as frustrating soon delves into the need to know everything about JB, Alena, and their messy history. 

The Burning Season

The narrative ticking down like a time bomb is an intriguing framing for this story as we creep closer to the reveal of lifelong secrets. Seeing the relationship between JB and Alena slowly wither is quietly devastating. Taking this approach means that Chernick is able to unravel the messiness of their relationship as the narrative barrels towards its fiery crescendo. 

Callbacks - or call forwards? - are cleverly placed in certain chapters alluding to conversations JB and Alena have had which we haven’t seen yet on screen. These small connections add a depth to their relationship, especially in the face of seeing it regress over The Burning Season’s runtime. It works similarly to how it would in a story told chronologically except it becomes more poignant as towards the chapters closest to the end we know more about their relationship than they do. The yearning then - that JB and Alena would have for their happily ever after - is transferred over to the viewer making it all the more heart-breaking.

The Burning Season

A small cast is made the most of, as most of the time it’s just Jonas Chernick and Sara Canning on screen. Their lead performances are wholly engaging and portray their characters’ rich history in ebbs and flows of subtlety and melodrama. The supporting characters Tom and Poppy - played by Joe Pingue and Tanisha Thammavongsa respectively - are but pawns in the wider story. Pushed to the side in favour of going all in on JB and Alena. With more depth Tom and Poppy could have enriched the story even more. 

The Burning Season succeeds in its pursuit of telling a love story in reverse. On paper this shouldn’t work but it only makes it more intriguing. The backwards narrative only exacerbates the longing of love, whilst also keeping attention as the mystery unfolds. Once you start The Burning Season you won't want to stop.


Rating The Burning Season



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