Cast: Liane Balaban, Nicholas Campbell, Raymond Cloutier,
Bernie Coulson, Kris Lemche
Liane Balaban. That's why I picked this, based on her
performance in "New Waterford Girl" which, despite
not expecting to like it, charmed me nonetheless.
This is a harder film about Jude (Balaban), a young woman
who turns tricks, her friends on the street -- a pedophile
named Clarence and a young hustler, Georgie -- and her
sister's boyfriend Gabe. Trouble ensues for Jude when she
rips off a drug dealer's brother. And so it goes.
One day later, it turns out, I don't have much to say
about this film. It's not a fundamentally bad film, just not
very memorable. It looked very good though. The director was
there to take Q&A, and as soon as I can remember a thing
he said, I'll write it all down. Nice fellow though.
[This review was not completed]
La veuve de Saint-Pierre
Cast: Juliette Bincohe, Daniel Auteuil, Emir Kusturica,
Philippe Magnan, Philippe Duchaussoy
Synopsis: Web Site:http://www.laveuvedestpierre.com
Why I picked this film: Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil,
Emir Kusturica, Patrice Leconte. Filmed in Louisbourg, Nova
It's 1850. Two drunken sailors set out to decide whether
their old captain is "gras ou gros" (fat, or just
big). In the gloom of night, they knife the captain (who
looks gras to me). They are charged with murder. One is
sentenced to hard labour, the other (Kusturica) to death. The
trouble is that Saint-Pierre has no guillotine. One has to be
sent from Martinique. And then there's the matter of not
having a willing executioner.
While they wait for both, he is put in the charge of the
garrison captain (Auteuil) and his wife "Madame La"
-- short for "Madame La Capitaine" -- played by
Binoche. Over the winter, the prisoner helps build a
greenhouse and mend roofs around the village. When he saves
the tavern from being destroyed by a runaway house (it was
being moved), he is celebrated by the community, even though
he's still under sentence of death from the council and
governor. It becomes clear that the man has changed, and so
you have to evaluate whether his sentence is still just.
Then the ship arrives carrying the guillotine.
There's nothing wrong with this film except for a cyan
pall that coloured the print, giving me the sensation that I
had just stepped out of bright sunlight into a darkened room.
La Moité Gauche Du Frigo
Cast: Paul Ahmarani, Stéphane Demers, Geneviève Néron
A fake documentary about two roommates -- Christophe, who
is looking for a job, and Stéphane who is filming his
search. I have to fess up and admit that I'm not a big fan of
fake documentaries because they seldom come close the the
real thing (they usually look too good or are too dramatic),
but this film gets it spot on, in part because director
Philippe Falardeau really is a documentary film maker. There
were points where I wondered if he had actually interviewed
some corporate executives and had spliced it in for
verisimilitude. No, as it turns out. This is a good,
apolitical film from French Canada.
Falardeau was generous enough to delay his flight home so
he could stay for the Q&A. Here are some of his comments.
"This is the
strangest theatre I've ever been in. It's like having
tunnel vision." (The Cumberland 4 is long a
quite narrow. It's the theatre with the Laurel and
"It was shot on
digital video with a Sony VX-1000, then transferred
to video by (a company in Montréal) using a very
complicated process. We did a lot of tests -- we had
to avoid certain colours, and movement -- OK I said
we have to have movement. You notice there are medium
shots by no big vistas. It's too much information for
He had started out naming
names and using actual information about the
companies at which Christophe interviewed, but once
his lawyers saw that, he got out his out scissors.
Essentially, "You don't use anything unless
you've already got the money for the law suit."
He did use the name "Rike" for
"Nike" despite his lawyer telling him not
to, but you don't spend years working on a script to
have it completely emasculated, he said.
About his original vision
compared to the final product: "The original had
more teeth." Over the development process, its
social agenda was toned down ("We've heard this
before") and the relationships in the story were
SRC (the French language
service of the CBC) has already bought the film.
Marketing in the rest of the world is unknown.
Q: Is the end of the film the end of their [Chrisophe
Falardeau: No, but it will never be the same.
"I can't believe so many people stayed for Q&A. I
didn't think there was much of an audience for this, but
apparently there is."
This film had a lot of walkouts. Imagine a film composed
of a series of tableaux with almost no dialog and only the
barest of stories. There you have it. A shipwreck. Three
survivors on a beautiful foreign shore wander down beach and
over sand dunes. It could have been told with a flip-book of
postcards, except that the postcards move.
Still don't get it? OK. I was in Chicago last month. I
walked past a marina near dusk as a storm was approaching.
Scores of sailboats were moored there, their sails furled,
but their rigging striking the masts in the breeze. The hulls
tipped back and forth, each in their own rhythm, to the
gentle pinging of the lines. I wanted to take a picture of
that: the motion, the light, the sound. What you can't do
with a still camera, you can do with motion pictures. And
that's what this film was all about: stunning photography
with an excuse to show it off.
Interlude: Manulife Center
It's 9:10 on Friday night and I am exhausted. I've done
little in the past eight days not directly related to the
film festival. Each day is the same: go to a film. Watch the
film. Write about the film. Repeat, sleep, repeat.
I'm having one of those ugly days -- days when all of the
fashion magazines I don't read and all of the attractively
dressed people around me finally succeed in making me feel
ugly. "I obviously don't belong here. Who am I trying to
fool?" You know those sorts of thoughts. It may just be
the fatigue talking, but it's speaking to me, and I'm all
I'm at a table beside an ever-ascending escalator, as if
I'm in an Escher drawing. Up, up, and more up. In its
mirrored sides I can see people one floor below in the food
court, and one floor up at the theatre entrance. It's
difficult to keep it all straight, spatially.
Ran into a patron last night to whom I last spoke about 4
years ago at a screening of "Erotique". Balding,
great voice, lucid. He didn't obviously remember me.
I've seen Tracy several times in passing too. She's been
around for at least the last 8 years. We spoke once in line
for the Uptown a couple years back, but she too has forgotten
me. To her, I'm the invisible man.
A paradox presents itself: if you are invisible, is it
possible to be ugly at the same time?
Cast: Marie-Christine Barrault, Victor Lanoux, Marie-France
Pisier, Guy Marchand
It's a good thing I didn't blow off this film because it
perked me right up at the end of another 5 film day. This one
is from the vaults. Twenty-five years ago, it was the first
Festival Of Festival Gala. Marie-Christine Barrault and
Victor Lanoux meet at a wedding. Though they're both married
(to wretched spouses), they start spending a lot of time
together. Everyone assumes they are sleeping together even
when they're not. And then they do.
It's nice light French fare that I haven't seen done in
twenty-five years. It's such a different style of
storytelling from what you'd see today, proving that it's not
just the width of men's ties that have changed since then.
Marie-Christine is a honey, in case you didn't know. She
has the same smile as Juliette Binoche, which I'd never
realized until today. Look for Marie-Christine and Charlotte
Rampling in Woody Allen's film "Stardust Memories."