After searching in vain for a job in the small seaside town where he was born, Édouard is forced to head off to the big city. He reluctantly leaves behind his mother-in-law Dorine, his wife Gemma and his beloved daughter Chloé. The weight of his absence is felt by all three women. Soon the news arrives of his unexplained death.
Beyond the confusion, guilt and anger that accompany such an event, there is the love, hope and idealism of youth, unfulfilled desires and the dreams they share of a better future … but when Gemma discovers the unusual legacy left by her late husband, she thinks she’s finally found the key to happiness. But what is happiness in the eyes of others? And how do we achieve it? Continue reading
Pierre Jutras wrote:
At the height of the Quiet Revolution, Claude Jutra brought Quebec cinema directly into modernity.
Take It All (1963) is the first autobiographical feature film made in Quebec using direct cinema methods and techniques. With its unusual aesthetics focusing on the free and intimate expression of the main protagonists, Claude and Johanne, the film was received with a mix of astonished admiration and righteous indignation. Jutra had dared to recreate on screen his own love story with Johanne Harrelle, one of the first black models on the Montreal and New York fashion scene. It was the first time in America that a bed scene was filmed with a white man and a black woman. Both freely engage in mutual confession, and the game of truth leads Johanne to inquire about Claude’s possible homosexuality. They also have to face the agonizing dilemma of abortion when Johanne gets pregnant.
Kissed is a film about a woman who finds spiritual meaning in her life by making love to the dead. It sounds like the stuff of cheap horror movies, but in the hands of director Lynne Stopkewich, it becomes almost religious. Molly Parker stars as the death-obsessed Sandra, who works at a funeral home and believes that she is ushering souls on their way with a final offering of ecstasy from the living world. The story takes a more earthly turn when Sandra meets Matt (Peter Outerbridge), who soon finds himself competing with corpses for his beloved’s attentions. Continue reading
Martha Hayes, a woman fanatically devoted to Jesus Christ, ekes out a meager existence in Montreal, Canada. As a singer in an Anglican Church choir, Martha meets and is fascinated by Father Michael Ferrier, an Augustinian monk who’s the guest conductor for an interfaith concert. How far is Martha willing to go to show her devotion to God? Continue reading
Michele, a divorced aerobics instructor with a gambling addiction, loses her job and seeks refuge with a childhood friend, Janine, who lives in a seemingly comfortable middle-class suburban neighborhood. Michele’s rebellious teenage daughter, Marguerite, and Janine’s shy and reserved daughter, Gabrielle, become friends, leading to unforeseen tensions that force both generations to reassess their values. Familia explores the question of how value systems are passed on from mother to daughter and asks: Is it possible to avoid passing on to our children those traits that we despise in our parents? Continue reading
“I had a hard name in that place” says Michael, one of the eight ex-cons in Alan Zweig’s new film. His turn of phrase refers to more than just a bad reputation. He’s talking about a hardness of spirit. It may have served him well as a criminal or a prisoner. In the outside world however, that hardness can get in the way. But slipping off the bonds of that hardness is easier said than done.
In A HARD NAME, we meet eight middle-aged ex-convicts, chosen at random, who are trying to stay out of prison, perhaps for the first time in their lives. Most have spent 30 to 40 years in and out of jail. Prison is what they know; they’ve learned how to survive there. Out here, it’s a different story. As each of the characters in the film tries to adapt to life on the outside, they share their stories, reflect on their past, and explore the path that led them to prison in the first place. Continue reading
Pierre Leduc leaves his job as a university lecturer in an effort to escape the world, only to have his plans thwarted as two family members reach out to him: first, his dying father, who wants to leave him a fortune of ill-gotten gains, and then the young daughter whom he abandoned years ago.
Québécois cinema has often explored the bonds that keep us together, but rarely has the subject been addressed so elegantly or so powerfully. An obsessed scholar attempts to withdraw from the world but finds personal ties drawing him back into the family he had left behind, in this novelistic, beautifully modulated drama from acclaimed Québécois filmmaker Bernard Émond. Tout ce que tu possèdes is characterized by a meditative style, a novelist’s eye for detail and startlingly beautiful grace notes. @Tiff Continue reading