On the basis of the two films I've seen, I'd agree with the above. So here is the entire program schedule, below, providing you an opportunity to experience the full range of this interesting filmmaker's work. (The descriptions/assessments of Bestiaire and Curling are provided by TrustMovies, those of the other four films, which I have not seen, come from AFA.)
Beginning in extreme close-up so that, for a time, we don't know quite what we are seeing, it soon becomes clear that we're watching other people who are concentrating hard and viewing something important to them. Ah-hah: we're in an art class, as the students sketch a dead and stuffed animal.
From there we go to live animals seen, in what seems to me, a manner never before shown us. The images are usually shot quite close and cropped in a way to make them seem strange and off-kilter but also extraordinarily intimate and intense. It's like seeing these animals for the first time: bison, llamas, horses, steers, ostriches, zebras and more. A peacock with only one wing; yes, but look how he moves and unfurls! And tiger whiskers -- in close up! Then come the big ones: rhinos, camels, elephants. And a confined hyena. whose cage suddenly confines him even more, so that his handlers can perform something necessary.
CURLING (2010, 92 mins, 35mm. In French with English subtitles)
Sometimes "the other" can live and work among us and we have no idea just how different and cut-off that person may be. So it is with Jean-François (Emmanuel Billodeau, shown on poster at right and in the second still from top) and his teen-age daughter Julyvonne (Philomène Bilodeau, below, who reminds me of a young Isabelle Huppert). Only his ex-wife (and her mother), understands just how fragile and problemed the lives of this odd father and daughter are. And mom? Well, she's in prison.
Sophie Desmarais, above) from the "normal" cast are also quite good, making small-town life in the extreme sticks seem no more or less pleasant and boring than it probably is. –Curling screens Friday, Oct, 19 at 8:45 and Sunday, Oct. 21 at 5.
DRIFTING STATES / LES ÉTATS NORDIQUES (2005, 91 mins, 35mm. In French with English subtitles.) Christian has committed a crime, a crime of compassion. A troubled soul, he must now flee not only the law, but the deep ethical consequences of his act. The path he sets upon leads him to where all roads end: a small community by the name of Radisson, 1500km north of Montreal. Slowly, he starts his life anew, among his new neighbours, a new job, a new interest in life. His story drifts along between fiction and reality…. –Saturday, October 20 at 3:00 and Sunday, October 21 at 9:00.
–Saturday, October 20 at 5:00 and Monday, October 22 at 8:45.
ALL THAT SHE WANTS / ELLE VEUT LE CHAOS (2008, 105 mins, 35mm, b&w. In French with English subtitles.) On a stretch of back road, in a thoroughly isolated village, an ex-Mafiosi and his rebellious daughter-in-law, Coralie, try to find solutions to their dead-end lives, especially their chronic financial problems. Desperate, deeply affected by the recent death of the woman who was wife/mother to them, and surrounded by menacing thugs, the pair look for a way out: peace of mind for him, freedom and a new life for her… –Sunday, October 21 at 2:30 and Tuesday, October 23 at 8:45.
Great news! Turns out that you can now watch any and all of the films of M. Côté via MUBI (formerly The Auteurs), that invaluable online cinema resource. Simply click here -- and get going!
This program was realized with the generous support of the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC) and the Québec Government Office in New York; very special thanks to Anne-Lyse Haket (SODEC) and Jean-Pierre Dion (Québec Government Office). Thanks also to Denis Côté, Ian Stimler (KimStim), Sandro Fiorin & Alex Garcia (FiGa Films), Jonathan Howell (New Yorker Films), Aida LiPera (Visit Films), Francis Ouellette (FunFilm Distribution Inc.), and Maripier St-Jean (Vision Globale).