2018 Focus Québec: Manifeste pour un réalisme poético-excentrique

Joëlle Desjardins Paquette und Jean-Guillaume Bastien im Gespräch

With their singular narratives and forms of expression, reflecting not least the diversity of modern Canada as a country of many languages and even more cultures, filmmakers from Québec are characterised by their innovative stories, as well as by their unusual perspectives. The works from the young director Joëlle Desjardins Paquette recount absurd everyday dramas and unconventional love stories, for which she has created her very own cosmos. Pointed, rich in meta- phors and black humour, yet still deeply loveable, she depicts people who have left their old lives behind them and now want to plunge into new adventures. Her films enter into a dialogue with each other; their protagonists’ paths cross at places where time is standing still.

Joëlle Desjardins Paquette studied in Bordeaux and Montréal. Her films SANS DEHORS NI DEDANS (2014) and FLOTS GRIS (2016), both praised by the audiences and the critics to an equal extent, form two parts of her “trilogy of sorrow”, which she hopes to be able to complete in 2018.

Her sense for the poetically bizarre, for me- lancholy humour, as well as her quest-for- identity themes connect her works with those from Jean-Guillaume Bastien, who is almost the same age as she is. While the films from Joëlle Desjardins Paquette can be regarded as “urban westerns”, the director born in Amqui at the St. Lawrence River has more of an affinity with theatre. JE NE SUIS PAS UN GRAND ACTEUR (2013) has a self-doubting actor in a “commedia dell’arte” troupe as its protagonist, while RUBY PLEINE DE MARDE (2016) is the adaptation of an off-theatre play.

The Focus Quebec programme at FILMFEST DRESDEN is contrasting the works of these two directing talents and thus opening up a dialogue between their works.

The Films

VOIR LE CIEL (VIEW THE SKY), Joëlle Desjardins Paquette (Fiction, Canada, 2012)

A little girl heads to the beach with a gun. The reason why she shoots up into the sky there is entirely banal: She does not like seagulls. The viewers learn the reason for her distaste, which is almost plausible.

APNÈES (APNEA), Joëlle Desjardins Paquette (Fiction, Canada, 2012)

The story is told by Liv, who has always been a sleepwalker. The hypnotic images act like a maelstrom, into which the viewers are also drawn.

PAPARMANE (WINTERGREEN), Joëlle Desjardins Paquette (Fiction, Canada, 2011)

The film recounts a fateful encounter between a melancholy urban worker and a manic messenger of joy. The carpark attendant and the telegramme singer are brought together by a depressed cat and perform as a very special duo from then on.

SANS DEHORS NI DEDANS (WITHIN AND WITHOUT), Joëlle Desjardins Paquette (Fiction, Canada, 2014)

A boy and his depressive mother live solely in the present as nomads and encounter characters for whom only yesterday exists. The film presents a surreal microcosm, in which an “all-knowing” iguana also lives.

FLOTS GRIS (BEYOND BLUE WAVES), Joëlle Desjardins Paquette (Fiction, Canada, 2015)

Together with SANS DEHORS NI DEDANS, the film forms the second part of the “trilogy of mourning”. Livia wanders around in confusion after a difficult break-up, followed by a peacock. An urban Western from the east of Montréal.

JE NE SUIS PAS UN GRAND ACTEUR (I'M NOT A GREAT ACTOR), Jean-Guillaume Bastien (Fiction, Canada, 2013)

In just a few minutes the theatre curtains will raise – but the main actor finds himself in a dilemma. Should he get up onstage, or leave the theatre? He does not feel he is part of the family of actors, nor does he want to take part in their empty rituals.

RUBY PLEINE DE MARDE (RUBY FULL OF SHIT), Jean-Guillaume Bastien (Fiction, Canada, 2016)

Denis finds himself spending the Christmas holidays with his life partner Carl at the home of his Catholic family – and feels extremely uneasy there. Which Ruby, the six-year-old niece of Carl, notices. She provokes Denis, who always has a hard time maintaining his role as Carl’s “acquaintance”.