Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Inside Out: Quebec’s new new wave

Lonely Child leads pack of queer Quebec films

One of the pleasures of highlighting the work of mostly young, mostly new talent is imagining what their work will look like in 10 years. That’s not to say that the work in Inside Out’s Quebec New Wave screening isn’t meritorious in its own right — it certainly is — but there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing that the future of Quebec cinema is in good (queer) hands.

Four short(ish) works will be shown. Of these, the longest is Pascal Robitaille’s Lonely Child. William (actor), an avid home video maker, attends his teenage boyfriend’s (Médéric, actor) birthday, where a tense family coming-out story is unfolding. When William passes his handheld camera to Médéric’s sister and gives him a kiss, Médéric’s mother flies off the handle.

Then it’s William’s turn to reveal. The pair drive to a small town where William’s first boyfriend, Nicholas (actor) and Nicholas’s current boyfriend (Maxime, actor) are camping. William and Nicholas reminisce while their young boyfriends bond.

Lonely Child is perhaps most interesting because it uses the Dogme95 rules. That means it’s shot on location with a handheld camera using no sound effects, makeup or extra lighting. Invented by Lars von Trier and most famously used by Thomas Vinterberg in The Celebration, the Dogme95 rules are a kind of cinematic puritanism and, insist its inventers, only incidentally an inexpensive way to make fims.

Robitaille has digested not just Dogme’s formal requirements, but its narrative sensibility too. The two main story arcs in Lonely Child (Médéric’s coming out story, William and Nicholas’s reunion) are linked by character and theme rather than direct plot development. The result lacks a traditional cinematic climax, leaving a quiet scene of teenage sexual exploration to resonate at the movie’s core. It turns out to be a clever move by the director since the movie’s themes are never tidily resolved, just like in real life.

The Quebec New Wave showing will also showcase three shorter films.

An eight-minute piece from director Joe Balass, Parting Words (Derniers Mots), tells the story of an ambulance ride, where the the beauty of a male ambulance attendant keeps Anwar alive during the trip.

In Sébastien Gauthie’s Vaguely Romantic (Vaguement Romantique), drunk roommates begin to experiment sexually, but as the complexity mounts, they wonder if they can keep it together.

If Parting Words and Vaguely Romantic restrict their scope out of time considerations, Jim Verburg’s For A Relationship does the opposite, cracking open two years of narrative material in this four-minute short. Visually experimental, For A Relationship may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but at that length, it doesn’t have to be.