Western (Grisebach, Germany/Bulgaria/Austria, 2017)

Note: 2019 has a lot to look forward to; Claire Denis’ High Life, Olivier Assayas’ Non-Fiction, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s The Wild Pear Tree, Hong sang-soo’s Grass and Hotel by the River to name but a few.

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Released in Germany in 2017 but not Ireland or the UK until 2018, Valeska Grisebach’s Western concerns German construction workers in a Bulgarian village who struggle with the locals who themselves are in the middle of a culture clash. The film stars newcomer Meinhard Neumann as Meinhard who is tall, silent and muscular. He rides a white horse, he’s loner and an outsider as he doesn’t agree with his German colleagues but also can’t speak Bulgarian to his Bulgarian colleagues. Aside from the building equipment and political references Western could take place anywhere in the last twenty-five years. The culture and differences between Germany and Bulgaria are noted. What unfolds is a tense dramatic exploration of masculinity. We know little of Meinhard’s past (he was a solider) he is in his late forties he has no family, no purpose in Germany it would seem. The villagers speak a little German, Meinhard gets by just about.

After the halfway point a dramatic incident occurs, a fellow German tells Meinhard to ‘get over it. We came here to work’. Meinhard stares at him blankly as the man walks away. Without a music score Grisebach incorporates the sounds of nature and construction tools. What else is more appropriate for a film that takes place mostly out outdoors in the Bulgarian heat? Perhaps Grisebach is developing her sense of what a filmmaker like Claude Chabrol was so good at. As Tony McKibbin (2000) notes this ‘observational sense of a village’s life, domestic scenes of food and drink, the psychological results of the immediate material world’. The village life in all its forms and the pacing of the film give it a certain edge. As we watch the story unfold dramatic moments have more power as like the films of Michael Haneke and Bela Tarr. The tension is a slow burner, full of surprises and intrigue.  The sense of power a character has when he disconnects the village’s water as a negotiating tool but soon changes his mind. Similarly to a Claire Denis film Western ends with Meinhard dancing into the night, the problems the film addresses are left hanging. Such a film which relies on village life in great detail in the mode of social realism cannot conclude with easy answers.

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Woody Allen’s London

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After over fifty years and nearly fifty films Woody Allen considers Match Point a personal favourite. Much has been made of Allen’s use of London in the film, his first made entirely outside of the US. The conventional locations of the Gherkin building (where the protagonist Chris ((Jonathan Rhys Meyers)) works, also the London Eye, The Royal Court, The Royal Opera House etc. Chris is such a mysterious character, the man who fell to earth in a Woody Allen film. As Meyers is from Cork Allen wanted Chris to be Irish but on Meyers’ insistence Chris would have an English accent to fit in with the upper classes. Also Meyers stated Allen would struggle to write for an Irish dialect.

Chris lives and works in wide open spaces, very ironic for a man who in some sense wants himself and his motives completely hidden. He even comments that he feels claustrophobic in his office. The drama is domestic as former tennis pro turned instructor Chris meets a new friend Tom (Matthew Goode) and his family; father Alec (Brian Cox) mother Eleanor (Penelope Wilton) and sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer) who Chris marries. Tom’s fiancée, an American actress called Nola (Scarlett Johansson) starts an affair with Chris. Chris and Nola are outsiders to the British upper class. Allen’s actors have a knack for reaction shots, think of Christina Ricci in Anything Else (Allen, 2003) as Jason Biggs impresses her on their first meeting before they begin an affair. Match Point is a world away from the comic reaction shot of John Cusack when Mary-Louise Parker confronts him about his affair with Dianne Wiest in Bullets Over Broadway (Allen, 1994)Meyers plays the Jeremy Irons role ala Damage (Malle, 1992) the briefcase wanker, at least that’s what he works towards. Think of the scene in the Tate Modern Art Gallery, Meyers’ look of hopeless desire, Johansson’s almost trance like state as she silently recites her phone number. It’s like Room at the Top (Clayton, 1959) the high life with the rich family or a relationship with Alice (Simone Sigornet), another outsider like the protagonist Joe (Laurence Harvey).

Match Point’s London along with Allen’s preceding films Scoop (Allen, 2006) and Cassandra’s Dream (Allen, 2007) and later You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (Allen, 2010) have arguably shown a touristy view of the city. Cassandra’s Dream is an exception, showing middle class London housing; only towards the end do characters enter central London. Locations like The London Tower Bridge and the Gherkin Building only appearing for show briefly remind us about the appropriate social bubble of areas like Hammersmith where brothers Ian (Ewan McGregor) and Terry (Colin Farrell) and their parents live. Their London is closed off almost intimate in a drama that demands intimacy. Perhaps some the dialogue between the brothers is awkward and stiff but the film is still an underrated effort from Allen. Three locations which describe this social bubble are Terry’s garage appropriately located under a gloomy motorway bridge like a typical Allen New York location. The pub where Kate, Terry’s girlfriend (Sally Hawkins) works which has railway tracks behind it. Allen rightly films this awkward scene between the brothers overlooking the tracks as the camera closes in on them as they discuss murder alà The Ladykillers (Mackendrick, 1955) which also involved murder in a house with railway tracks behind it. Evident is Ian’s awkward body language towards the pub and railway as if anyone could be listening. Finally in contrast to the gloominess we see Ian dreaming of California as he eyes up a fancy car in a shop, the sun reflecting through the trees out the window as London passes by.

Ian’s girlfriend Angela (Hayley Atwell) is a rising actress, like Chloe in Match Point she is completely unaware of her partner’s murderous secret. Both Ian and Chris are nearly caught out unintentionally. Allen plays up the truth being out-ted in an interesting moment where Chris denies being on certain street near Nola’s apartment, ‘I think you’re mistaken’. Of course what interests Allen the most is the idea of the perfect murder which he started with in Crimes and Misdemeanors (Allen, 1989). Of course Terry’s conscience gets the better of him in Cassamdra’s Dream.

Farrell’s posture and sense of brooding is captured well in the way in he sits at the dinner theatre for Angela’s play or when he awkwardly sits in the chair in his parent’s bedroom asking his mother for a loan of her birthday money. Cassandra’s Dream received poor reviews in the UK and US, while France where intrigued by this dark morality tale. Desson Thomson for the Washington Post noted ‘their (Ian and Terry’s) choices are based entirely on socioeconomic impulses’. McGregor’s Ian does seem too eager to do evil and move on, understandably the audience might be distracted by this implausibility within its own context. Think of McGregor’s character Alex in Shallow Grave (Boyle, 1994). Chris’ way in Match Point had no such expositional dialogue as he has no one to discuss it with, this is what gives Chris one of the great strengths of cinema; ambiguity. It rests on Chris’ facial gestures and body language. Later films like Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Allen, 2008) and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger are ruined by the worst self explanatory voiceover which Noah Baumbach has also used. A narrator freely explains situations and character’s feelings. The mystery of cinema and craft of acting is let down in such an instance. Of course Chris narrated certain moments in Match Point as have many Allen characters but imagine if Allen had such detailed narration in all of his films. In the end it is literary device and should not be abused.

Allen has often used chance meetings in his films like Chris and Nola at the Tate Modern. Often these meeting can be pure filler for Allen’s structure, too forced. What Tony McKibbin (2012) would call Allen’s ‘anaemic craft’. People have said of Match Point and Cassandra’s Dream that they wouldn’t recognise them as Woody Allen films. Allen himself would strongly disagree.

Words on Screen by Michel Chion (edited and translated by Claudia Gorbman) Published by Columbia University Press (March, 2017)

Note: I would like to thank Columbia University Press for sending me a copy of Words on Screen to review.

“I do not read so many fictions. But rather books on the theory of cinema. My favorite author is Michel Chion: as soon as one of his books is translated, I buy it. He does not write from an abstract point of view like most critics, who speak more of aesthetics than of the act of seeing a film. Chion is interested in all the ways of perceiving a film. He wrote a book about the history of the early years of sound in cinema. He takes tiny subjects and he really talks about it from the perspective of someone watching a movie and the effect it does. That’s what I like about him: it’s very smart and it’s never abstract.” Jim O’Rourke on Michel Chion (interview with Les Inrocks, 29th November 2001)

I think that Jim O’Rourke’s statement about Michel Chion sums him up perfectly as a critic and theoretician of cinema, ‘it’s very smart and it’s never abstract’. Mr. Chion began writing and teaching about film sound in 1978, a subject of which little attention was being paid at the time. From 1981-1988 he wrote for Cahiers du Cinema, during that time he wrote his first book on cinema, The Voice in Cinema (1982), an exploration on screenwriting Writing a Scenario (1985, revised and updated 2007) and a monograph on Jacques Tati (1987). Cahiers continued to publish some of his books after he left the magazine including monographs on Lynch (1992) Kubrick (2005) and Tarkovski (2008). Mr. Chion has written for Cahiers left wing rival Positif since 1996. His most famous book is Audio Vision (1990) about the relationship between image and sound. Mr. Chion’s latest book is Words on Screen (2017) expertly edited and translated by his friend and fellow film scholar Claudia Gorbman from the French original text L’Ècrit au Cinema (2013). Gorbman describes Chion as ‘a poet in theoretician’s clothes’. Mr. Chion’s writing invites the reader to access areas of cinema such as image, sound, speech and text which I for one knew very little about before reading.

Where to begin with Words on Screen? Chion illustrates many uses of text on screen through ten chapters featuring use of opening credits in many creative forms such as a hand on the screen writing out the credits in the Astaire-Rogers musical Carefree (Sandrich, 1938)  and Barbarella’s (Vadim, 1968)  use of jumbling text around Jane Fonda’s body. Also the act of hearing a foreign language and reading subtitles, the visuals of letters, books and signs on screen. Chion examines the psychological effects of these visuals for the films and their audiences. As often Chion invites you to take the journey of the book with him with his clear and concise prose. The best moments in the book are Chion’s fascination with newspapers (Eyes Wide Shut) signs (The Postman Always Rings Twice (Garnett, 1946)) computers (The Thing, Stand by Me) and how Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942) is written on screen in the credits as “Casablanca” a word to be spoken over and over again throughout the film rather than simply read.

Chion got a research grant to write the book from The Internationales Kolleg fur Kultur-technikforschung und Medienphilosophie (IKKM) in Weimar, Germany. Chion states that he watched over 900 films in preparation and uses 256 stills to illustrate examples of text in cinema. Chion insists that the cinema continues to re-invent itself in modern times and sees a positive side to 3-D for Avatar (Cameron, 2009) and Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Herzog, 2010). The book is useful for film scholars looking to learn about this unique subject, Chion’s devoted readers will continue to feel the warm invitation of his writing.

At look back at Alfie (Gilbert, 1966)

alfieI have always been fascinated how director Lewis Gilbert and writer Bill Naughton develop London Casanova Alfie Elkins‘(Michael Caine) relationships with women into segments. Like Naughton’s The Family Way (Boulting, 1966) where time is taken to criticise the protagonist’s sex life, criticisms of Alfie are fleeting up until a point, when the women leave him. Gilbert uses many locations around London, Sonny Rollins jazzy score and the slow motion effect give the film the fleeting blink of the eye moments of happiness for Alfie. Siddie (Millicent Martin, known for her role as Gertrude Moon in Frasier) is looking for time away from her husband; a Chelsea FC supporter with a keen interest in gardening, Alfie fills her void of boredom. Another woman Gilda (Julia Foster) is looking for a future with Alfie, they have a child together, Alfie’s self-centredness and unsurprising lack of commitment breaks their relationship. The pregnancy of his friend’s wife Lily (Vivien Merchant) is devastating; Jane Asher’s Annie is looking for a lover in Alfie after an unknown sad past about a lover named Tony. Shelley Winter’s Ruby is all flash, her rejection of Alfie has him pondering on Waterloo Bridge, ‘what it’s all about?’ in an ending so open, anything is possible, but knowing Alfie it’ll be more of the same.

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Alfie’s breaking of the fourth wall wasn’t a common technique in 1966 (viewers of my generation found the technique used in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to be groundbreaking at the time, at least I thought so.) Rollins’ theme tune with its optimistic sax invites the protagonist to take chances; cheat and live life to what he believes to be the full. One wonders what kind of trouble Alfie was in before the film starts; it surely wasn’t all fun and games. I have not seen the 2004 remake with Jude Law, but I do believe that an Alfie-type can exist today in 2017, such a narcissistic personality with never die out it seems.  The interiors from Alfie’s cramped flat, the local pub, the garage where Alfie works at the beginning all suggest a working class which Alfie would rather not focus on as he sits in his chair suggesting that Gilda should rob the till of the cafe where she works just the people make money. Caine said in later interviews that Alfie’s fast talking speech rhythm with his big hand gestures were done so that the other characters would pay attention to a working class cockney. In Get Carter (Hodges, 1971) it’s the opposite as Caine’s gangster speaks slower because he knows he can be heard. It seems Ruby is only woman Alfie considers a future with; ironically she dumps him for a younger man just because he is younger. Alfie’s real loss is his son Malcolm who he had by Gilda, Alfie speaks poignantly about the child and the montage of Malcolm and Alfie in the park are Alfie at his most fulfilled, it’s his lost moment. The agony of what might been with the women is briefly pondered by Alfie as he reflects on being cheated on just he had done so many times. All he can do is walk away and ponder his lack of peace of mind.

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60 Seconds from a De Palma Film

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Brian De Palma is famous and rightly so for his set piece sequences, from the bucket of blood sequence in Carrie (De Palma, 1976) to the Grand Central Station chase in Carlito’s Way (De Palma, 1993) to the rope through the vault sequence in Mission: Impossible (De Palma, 1996). I would argue that whilst his scripts are often Hitchcockian, his film style is unique to him. I don’t recall Hitchcock using slow motion often if at all apart maybe in the shower scene from Psycho. The sequence I have chosen is the elevator scene from Dressed to Kill (De Palma, 1980). In his book Mise en Scene and Film Style: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art Adrian Martin (2014) focuses on how De Palma pumps up Pino Donaggio’s score on the first part of the scene in which Angie Dickinson is brutally murdered. I have chosen 60 seconds in which Nancy Allen discovers Dickinson dying and slowly but surely she notices the murderer through a mirror. De Palma (2015) has stated that the set up and details of these sequences ‘go on forever’. De Palma takes 6 minutes to tell the sequence. These crucial 60 seconds I speak of are spellbinding on repeated views and definitely sum up De Palma’s style.

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The sequence is done in slow motion in roughly 40 shots. Michel Chion has written that a film’s sound cannot studied without its image and film’s image cannot be studied without its sound. I believe it is a certain ambient sound like a helicopter on the soundtrack at the climax of the 60 seconds; this is what still stuns me after so many viewings. This sound bridged with De Palma’s rhythmic and artful images deliver a film style that pulls absolutely no punches. To begin with the first shot Allen sees Dickinson as she lies bleeding in the lift, Donaggio’s strings rise to the occasion of her shock. Dickinson starts to reach out her arm but before she can De Palma cuts to Allen in distress as the camera zooms in a manner that might have impressed Rainer Werner Fassbinder. De Palma is interested in the quick flash of detail as Allen’s forehead disappears from the frame to focus on her hands clenched to her face. I cannot but help be reminded of the way Nic Roeg films the eyes of the witches in his Roald Dahl adaptation from 1990 from the way De Palma sets up a reaction of a slow zoom into Dickinson’s blood pouring eyes. Donaggio’s score builds as the murderess in reaction gestures her hand forward moving the razor blade up, the audience holds its breath. Allen’s hands shake in reaction, Dickinson’s raised hand towards her murderer (who of course Allen cannot see) is almost biblical. Donaggio’s score and De Palma’s cuts align with the closing of the elevator door before Allen stops it, De Palma crucial cuts as Allen’s hand of goodwill gestures out to hold the door. De Palma then settles on Dickinson’s bracelet and the blade each reflecting light in turn. This is when De Palma really uses slow motion to full effect as the film almost stops for Allen to gesture her eyes and faces up towards the elevator mirror above, this is when De Palma’s stunning use of ambient sound kicks in and the sequence begins to unwind with rhythmic precision. Allen’s stunning facial numbness in the moment holds the scene in all of its crystal glory as one of greatest moments in cinema history.

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Xavier Dolan: Beyond His Years

Dedicated to Matt Wager

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Xavier Dolan was born eight months before me in 1989, his talent knows no bounds. A child actor by profession from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, he turned to writing and directing in 2009 with his astonishing debut I Killed My Mother (Dolan, 2009) This was followed by Heartbeats (Dolan, 2010), Laurence Anyways (Dolan, 2012), Tom at the Farm (Dolan, 2013) and Mommy (Dolan, 2014). This year It’s Only the End of the World (Dolan, 2016) won the Grand Prix at Cannes. His next film The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (Dolan, 2018) will be his first both in English and set outside of Quebec; it will be shot mostly in New York and is said to be released in 2018.

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What struck me about Mommy (which shared the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes with Goodbye to Language (Godard, 2014) was Dolan’s profound interest in the mother and son arguing and how far the actors take it with incredible intensity. Of course the same can be said of I Killed My Mother which now brings to mind arguments in the films of Fassbinder, Almodovar and Cassavetes. I Killed My Mother stars the nervy and insecure Hubert played Dolan himself, a teenager at odds with his mother (Anne Dorval). Dolan mostly films interior scenes; a family home, a local school, a teacher’s home, a hamburger bar, the crammed apartment of Hubert’s friend, Hubert’s father home, a video store and a boarding school. Dolan’s exterior scenes have a visual and/or emotional charge, think of Hubert’s mother and her friend discussing Hubert’s homosexuality or Hubert alone in a Quebec street surrounded only by street lights.

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I went to a packed screening of It’s Only the End of the World in Dublin, with his prizes at Cannes Dolan seems to be taking the film world by storm. The film concerns a family of five, a mother Martine (Nathalie Baye) her sons Louis (Gaspard Ulliel) and Antoine (Vincent Cassel), her daughter Suzanne (Lèa Seydoux) and Antoine’s wife Catherine (Marion Cotillard). Louis has AIDS; the film is a 90 minute struggle to reveal this to his family in a story of rage and turmoil. Cassel’s tall psyche and brash face embody the emotionally violent Antoine, a kind of older version of Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) from Mommy. Spending five minutes with either Antoine or Steve in reality would be nearly impossible yet they are incredibly captivating to watch on screen. The arguments in It’s Only the End of the World have Dolan’s melodramatic stamp, most of the audience I saw it with responded to it as a black comedy of manners. The film is based on a semi-autobiographical 1990 play by Jean-Luc Lagarce, Dolan’s second adaptation after Tom at the Farm. The Quebec neighbourhood in the film is bright and green, a glimmer of hope if it can exist in a world of such bleak characters. There is a stunning close-up of Cotillard early on in the film which I read in the moment to be a glaze of infatuation for Louis. Dolan’s hear for the music of his generation is clear (Blink 182) and surprising (Moby) and is a reminder of the rarity of a working director who is under 30.

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Heartbeats concerns a love triangle between Nicolas (Niels Schneider), Marie (Monia Chokri) and Francis (Xavier Dolan) set in a Montreal of twenty-somethings’ (Generation Y) obsessive ramblings about their love lives or lack of them. I found this film to be a similar viewing experience to My Golden Days (Desplechin, 2015), both films contain performances and individual moments that I admire but the film overall lacks something more needed at the core, an engaging narrative. With Dolan this comes with more expectation as I have not seen any other of Arnaud Desplechin’s films. As my friend Matt informed me; other Dolan films such as I Killed My Mother, Laurence Anyways and Mommy take something on, something of substance or more accurately something of essence. The three central performances in Heartbeats are strong, Schneider for his pretentiousness, Chokri for her desperation and Dolan for his obsession which finally reaches a breaking point. Dolan’s choice of music such as Dalida’s ‘Bang, Bang’ as the film’s theme song, House of Pain’s catchy ‘Jump Around’ and Johann Sebastian Bach’s ‘Cello suite No. 1 Prelude in C and G Major respectively give the film some emotion weight at times. Dolan’s use of camera placement and slow-motion technique absorb in some fine moments such as Nicolas’ birthday party sequence, Francis going to the store to buy marshmallows and eating one slowly as he fantasises about Nicolas and a walk in rain between Marie and Francis. Writing about this now I’m remembering the use of slow motion in Every Man for Himself (Godard, 1980) and In the Mood for Love (Wong, 2000). With Heartbeats Dolan draws a canvas, sets his stylistic tendency without a strong enough narrative motor, which sometimes relies on narcissistic discussion between strangers when more focus is needed for his protagonists.

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Laurence Anyways features incredible performances from Melvil Poupaud as Laurence Alia, a Montreal a high school English teacher who is a transsexual and Suzanne Clement as Fred, his girlfriend who sticks by him, they love each other deeply. Dolan experiments more with slow motion techniques, he is deeply fascinated by profiles from front and back. Quebec as always in Dolan’s films is filled with colour from its characters, costumes (designed by Dolan himself) and set design. Dolan’s soundtrack sets the tone with some songs familiar, some all the better for being discovered in the context of his and his music supervisors’ selections. Strong scenes feature Dolan’s trademark, arguments; from a confrontation between Fred and an elderly waitress with no respect and Poupaud and Clement’s dynamic scenes together. It features strange sequences of water flowing through a ceiling on Fred and another of clothes falling from the sky as Laurence and Fred roam free through the mystical Isle of Black. The film simply floats.

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Tom at the Farm has the feel of L’argent (Bresson, 1983), of a character being taken in by a farm woman with hardly any questions asked initially. It also has a strange echo of a one man version of The Big Chill (Kasdan, 1983), a man visiting a remote house for the funeral of a loved one. The film is based on a 2011 play by Michel-Marc Bouchard who co-wrote the screenplay with Dolan. Tom (Dolan) has come to pay his respects to the family of his deceased boyfriend Guillaume. Guillaume’s psychotic brother Francis (Pierre-Yves Cardinal) is on par with Steve in Mommy and Antoine in It’s Only the End of the World. Guillaume’s mother Agathe (Lise Roy) is oblivious to Guillaume’s homosexuality and Francis’ sadistic nature. Tom becomes Francis’ victim for his sick and violent games which including beatings and bursting Tom’s tires leaving him trapped in a remote Quebec farm outback. Tom and Guillaume’s colleague Sarah (Evelyne Brochu) is believed by Agathe to have been Guillaume’s lover; Sarah’s appearance in the film’s narrative is a breath of fresh air. The film’s feeling of isolation is superbly photographed in stark colours of the Quebec night but I felt there was something missing at the film’s centre. Tom’s vague characterisation is intriguing however.

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It’s nearly two years ago since I discovered Dolan’s films with Mommy which I consider to be his masterpiece. Diane (Anne Dorval) one of Dolan’s most regular collaborators is a single mother taking care of her fifteen year old son Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) who has ADHD and psychotic tendencies. Enter Kyla, an outsider to their relationship, who is a nervous stuttering teacher on sabbatical played by the brilliant Suzanne Clement (completely different each time she works with Dolan from I Killed My Mother, Laurence Anyways to Mommy). The Quebec neighbourhood is as bright as ever with autumn leaves and sunshine coming through the street of such family tragedy like in All That Heaven Allows (Sirk, 1955) and Far from Heaven (Haynes, 2002). The character Steve plays his deceased father’s  mix-tape which includes White Flag by Dido, Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65 and Wonderwall by Oasis. White Flag sets the tone of the family life in the Quebec suburb for Kyla with her emotionally absent husband Patrick (Alexandre Goyette) and their daughter (Isabelle Nèlisse). Blue (Da Ba Dee) sets boundaries between Steve and Kyla, Pilon has an incredibly natural ability to embody his character through stark body language and shocking intensity. What can be said for Wonderwall, perhaps the most overused pop song of the 1990s? It is given new and eternal life in this film in an astonishing sequence of Steve breaking the fourth wall (changing the screen’s aspect ratio from 1:1 to 1.85:1) it has to seen to believed and a lesser film would have made this into a gimmick but this film’s heart and intensity earns such a bold and breathtaking move. Dorval’s Diane loves her son, her facial gestures are perfect, almost devilish at times. Clement’s Kyla’s hand gestures speak volumes of nerves and repression which she lets out unexpectedly in one scene. Maybe Pilon is the Jean-Pierre Leaud of now! The film climaxes with the heavenly sound of Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die, the visual settling is white, a white of endless entrapment which is about to be set free.

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Dolan’s films are noted highly for their performances and their stylistic tendencies of montage and slow motion. His camera tracks sometimes feel like they are a character’s POV or a POV of a vehicle in which they are traveling in but sometimes the camera is just tracking the characters like road scenes in Laurence Anyways and Tom at the Farm. Dolan sometimes likes to build up a scene slowly by showing us two characters at a table when they are in fact three and the third person vibrates the scene with inappropriate comments, we can call this trait Dolanesque. His sound turns down when you do not expect it, like when Blue (Da Ba Dee) fades out and back in for dramatic effect at a crucial moment in Mommy. Then again all moments in Dolan’s cinema are in a sense crucial, its Quebec setting of brightness and possibly hopefulness intrigues the viewer. Diane’s fantasy of Steve’s future in Mommy is like an advert, a montage between the style of the Six Feet Under (Ball, 2001-2005) finale and Boyhood (Linklater, 2014). It is like all of the fantasy sequences in Dolan’s films, soon the Quebecoise melodramatic vision of reality sets in.

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