Kingston Canadian Film Festival - Experience French Canadian Movies

From March 2nd to 5th 2017


An ode to being young, dumb and eager to make trouble, PRANK is an often hilarious and sometimes uncomfortably familiar story anti-coming-of-age by one of Quebec’s most distinctive new talents. Best known for his own award-winning shorts and his striking cinematography for Denis Côté, François Biron makes a confident feature debut with this story of an adolescent misfit who falls in with a trio of teens with a penchant for pranks. As tensions between the new friends grow, the stunts take a shift from the crude and puerile toward the cruel and unhinged.


Chloe Robichaud takes a delightfully original approach to political and cultural questions that typically get a much more staid treatment. In the film’s slightly-alternate version of reality, Canada has a very close neighbour named Besco, a tiny island nation with 170,000 inhabitants and a dim future unless it can strike a better deal for itself and its resources. That’s the hope at a round of meetings attended by various visiting Canadian politicians, business interests and local representatives. Emily VanCamp, Rémy Girard and Macha Grenon part of the terrific ensemble cast for Robichaud’s politically astute comedy of manners.


Anne Émond established herself as one of Canadian cinema’s boldest new talents with NUIT #1 (KCFF 12) and LES ĒTRES CHERS (KCFF 16). In her most daring film to date, Émond mixes fact and fiction in order to convey the very complex life of Nelly Arcan, the Quebecois writer who took similar liberties with the truth in a series of literary sensations based on her experiences as a sex worker. Though challenging at times, NELLY has tremendous force thanks to the stunning performance by Mylène Mackay, who stars not as all of Nelly’s different incarnations and personas that will be just as beguiling to viewers as they clearly are to Émond.


Even in a year with so many strong first features by young Canadian filmmakers, this thoughtful and delicately rendered debut by Montreal’s Sophie Goyette is a standout. One reason why it’s so remarkable is the subdued sense of lyricism that informs each of the film’s three parts as Goyette gently shifts the focus of her story from a young Canadian woman in Mexico, to the man who employs her as a piano teacher for his son and then to the man’s lovelorn elderly father. Though the themes of memory, regret and escape connect all of these different lives, Goyette prefers to let her insights emerge in a manner that’s subtle, surprising and utterly organic.


No recent Canadian film can match the audacity of this provocative portrait of new-school radicalism run amok. Directors Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie were inspired by the student protests over tuition hikes that rocked Montreal in 2012, which had them wondering how far the protesters were really willing to go. The filmmakers integrated footage of real demonstrations into this otherwise speculative tale of four would-be revolutionaries who will resort to extreme measures if it means fundamental change for the society they abhor.  The winner of the Best Canadian Feature award at TIFF last September, it’s a film that seems uniquely attuned to these tumultuous times.