Social Hygiene (2021, Denis Côté)

Somehow the most delightful and enjoyable of the Cote movies I’ve seen, even though this one is just people standing still in fields, and the others were kinda a thriller and kinda a nature doc. He’s an unusual filmmaker – per AS Hamrah “Côté has made over a dozen low-budget, semi-conceptual films in Canada since 2005 and shows no sign of letting up. Each of his movies is a bracing delight designed to perk up an audience by asking it to see and listen in some new way.”

Early-Villeneuve star Maxim Gaudette is our lead, facing off vs. a different woman in every scene – first his sister, then both wife and girlfriend. He’s a thief, living in his car, dodging taxes, giving circuitous answers. Scenes are connected by whip pans, or pillow shots, or a girl named Aurora walking around the wilderness – turns out she’s following him, since he smashed her car windows and stole her laptop. At the end, his wife says something like “it’s a simple question and I forbid you from complicating it” – I could use that line.

with sister, Ghost Town Anthology’s Larissa Corriveau

with girlfriend Eve Duranceau (and chaperone)

There’s something odd to the frames, a mild Sokurov light-bending effect, and there seems to be a smear on the lens in a different spot in each shot. Then again, nothing falls apart faster in streaming video than wide shots of trees on a breezy day, so this looked pretty bad, that might be the problem. “I’m going to the cinema. I’ll sit in the first row. That way I’ll see the movie before anyone else.”

with victim, Éléonore Loiselle

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