Denis Côté’s most accessible feature film to date, Curling is a fascinating work that revisits many of the preoccupations of his previous films Les états nordiques, Nos vies privées, Elle veut le chaos and Carcasses. But here, the celebrated Québécois filmmaker unfolds his minimalist narrative from the inside out, instead of his usual outside-in stories. The result is an impressively austere film that establishes an immediate emotional connection.
It is the dead of winter in a rural Quebec village. Everyone in town knows Jean-François (Emmanuel Bilodeau), a single father who works nights at a deserted bowling alley and days in a rundown motel. His daughter, Julyvonne (Philomène Bilodeau, Emmanuel’s real life daughter), is mysteriously absent from the community. As it turns out, she never leaves their home. Jean-François home-schools and isolates her, fearing that contact with the outside world will scar her the way it has him.
As with Côté’s previous films, motivations and past history have little relevance here – what matters lies within the frame. Sensitive, expressive images are crafted to perfection by cinematographer Josée Deshaies (Tiresia, All That She Wants), while Côté masterfully distorts our perception of time, letting it linger in beguiling stillness as winter slowly seeps away.
_Curling_’s incisive family portrait is disturbed by several fractured events: the disappearance of a young boy from home; Julyvonne’s discovery of corpses in the nearby woods; Jean-François’s out-of-character enthusiasm for curling; and an unexpected encounter with a tiger that symbolically unlocks the father and daughter’s psychological cage, giving the film a surreal and poetic resonance. –TIFF
Denis Côté (November 16, 1973 in Perth-Andover, New Brunswick in Canada) is a filmmaker and producer in Quebec, home Brayonne. Independent filmmaker, he is often considered one of the leaders of the new Quebec cinema, terms for his part he denies.
Cinephile, he studied cinema at Ahuntsic College in Montreal and founded nihilproductions (not to be confused with Aes-Nihil Productions) around 1994. Very active, he turns fifteen short films, including Kosovolove (2000) and La sphatte (2003). Meanwhile, he is a journalist in radio theater, cinema desk editor for the weekly Montreal cultural ICI from 1999 to 2005 and vice president of the Quebec Association of Film Critics (AQCC).
In 2005, his first feature, Drifting States, won the Golden Leopard (video) at the Locarno International Film Festival and the Grand Prix Indie Vision International Festival Jeonju, Korea. In November 2007, the film is one of ten selected by the Cahiers du Cinema in programming A Weekend of unpublished… read more
I recommend this film to everyone. I saw it in a festival here in Lisbon and it's the best film I've seen so far this year. And hey, it's available here on MUBI for free.
Unanswered questions. A father & daughter/ a mysterious past and fear that results in Dad severely restricting his daughters connection to the outside world. Bad things seem to have happened nearby that are left to speculation. Beautifully and simply shot, with restrained performances and lovely production design. I would have liked more background as to his motivations and a stronger story resolution. 3 stars
Enigmatic film about a man in rural Quebec living with his daughter who he has tried to shield from the outside world. Similar in theme to DOGTOOTH but more rooted in reality, paints a portrait of an ordinary man futilely trying to protect his child. Quiet and thoughtful, a bit aimless, but carries the melancholy weight of a parent's fear for their children in a dangerous world.
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Jason Anderson introduces his interview with Denis Côté, the cover feature in the latest issue of Cinema Scope: "Remarkably productive given
Li Hongqi, photographed by Massimo Pedrazzini for the Locarno Film Festival.The Locarno Film Festival's Golden Leopard goes to Li Hongqi
Following the first round of titles and then the lineups for the Wavelengths and Real to Reel programs, the Toronto International Film Festival