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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Polytechnique


Very seldom I watch a movie in one long prolonged breath of air. I didn’t breathe the entire movie as I was totally fascinated and absolutely shocked at the same time. When was over I was exhausted after feeling too many contradictory feelings at the same time. I was able to expel one word: Intense!!!

Yes this is one of the most beautiful and poetic films with the most horrendous story you can imagine, especially if you’re a woman, a career woman.

First let’s talk about the movie. Shot in black and white with absolutely fantastic use of light, outstanding indoor and outdoor cinematography, very non-common camera angles that include many close-ups to details, unbelievable good upside down takes, fast and slow framing to intensify whatever is happening, amazing storytelling that moves back and forward in time as well as tells the story from each character point-of-view, and absolutely great performances by the two lead characters. Wow!

Special mention goes to the sets that with all the concrete, the windowless classrooms and the narrow corridors (that probably resemble the real Polytechnique) easily creates emotions and claustrophobic feelings; but is the use of the camera within these sets what makes you feel everything! Truly amazing!

Winter in Montreal and all Quebec is so special (for me) and with the white and black outdoor shots it never looked so real, so cold and so beautiful. Absolutely great winter photography!

Big Chapeau to Denis Villeneuve for creating such an amazing visual voyage and for doing a tasteful fictionalization of a violent real life tragedy that killed many young women. Yes the story is about a young man that hated women; but not all women, just his own definition of feminist women that basically is related to women doing and stealing work from men while getting all the advantages that women receive in developed societies. Women that stole his life and job opportunities. The story is told via telling the story of two Montreal’s Polytechnique students, Valérie (Karine Vanasse) and Jean-François (Sébastien Huberdeau), the only two characters that are well developed and I really thank Villeneuve for not developing the assassin character as in my opinion that would have made the movie unwatchable, no matter how great were the visuals.

The film was in competition in the Quinzaine des Realisateurs at 2009 Cannes and I imagine that due to the controversial theme the film didn’t get more honors that definitively deserved. The movie is intermittently nerve-wracking deploying some scenes largely for tension-relieving effect, so even if in a way at the beginning I thought it was going to be like Gus Van Sant’s Elephant, very soon I realized that this was quite different and highly superior.

I strongly recommend this movie to cinephiles and to those that like art films as is a truly amazing and visually outstanding film. I strongly suggest women, especially career women, to watch this film for the story; but be aware that is not an easy to watch story even if the filmmaker went to great lengths to ease the watching.

This is not a movie to love for the story, but this time I have to say that I loved this film that absolutely fascinated and shocked me at the same time.

Big Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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