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With Quebec's three most important film festivals (the veteran World Film Festival, the funky upstart Festival of New Cinema and New Media, and the always surprising Festival du Cinema en Abitibi-Temiscamingue) come and gone, and a rather low-key presence of Quebec productions in all of these events, one has to wonder what happened to all the Quebecois films shot over the past year. Truth is a lot of Quebec's stellar filmmakers and top indie directors are either still in the editing room--including Claude Demers, Charles Biname, Arto Paragamian, Guylaine Dionne, Robert Lepage, Mario Chabot and Denys Arcand--or in production--including Denis Villeneuve and Philippe Falardeau--leaving us hungry and hopeful for the new millennium lineup.... It was a first-timer who managed to steal the attention of the media and direct one of the most talked about films of the fall, even winning the Best Director prize at the WFF. Louis Belanger's Post Mortem impressed audiences and critics alike with its confident directing and subtle yet quirky treatment of a very unusual love story, that of a mortician who resuscitates a strangled young woman brought into his morgue by making love to her supposed corpse. A morbid subject (already handled with grace by Lynne Stopkewich in Kissed), it is given a twist in Belanger's film, as the two characters, lost, alone and pressured into their own closed-off universes, slowly learn to open up to the world and to love again. Post Mortem features a strong performance by Sylvie Moreau in her first starring role for the big screen, alongside the always powerful Gabriel Arcand, one of Quebec's most respected film and stage actors. With its tremendous success in Quebec, one would hope Post Mortem gets released in the rest of Canada in 2000. The other film that seemed to gather much attention was a short. Decharge, directed by Montrealer Patrick Demers, made such an impression that it snapped up the best short film prize at the Toronto fest last September and has enjoyed an unusually fruitful theatrical career for a short. Produced on a shoestring budget by young Montreal-based production company Quatre par Quatre, Decharge actually is a stunning reflection of the combined efforts and particular style of Quatre par Quatre's unique "freestyle crew," which attempts to construct a film as it goes along and transform it at each step, from its rather kamikaze shooting method to its very creative and reconstructive editing sessions.
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Author:Valade, Claire
Publication:Take One
Date:Dec 1, 1999
Previous Article:Toronto.
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