Ordinary Human Language

by Brian Crane

Coteau Rouge

-Film Poster

I don’t know André Forcier’s earlier work, but I’ve seen his last three films. Along with Xavier Dolan’s two films, I think they are among the most interesting to come out of Québec in the last seven or eight years.

This film isn’t polished and works in an anti-nostalgic mode which makes it stand out from films like C.R.A.Z.Y. et al. It is absurd, non-psychological and looks closely at an unvarnished life populated with types of characters and of stories. It is ironic without being cynical or misanthropic. Instead, the irony cycles around toward the mythic. Here, the lawn mowers and grass, the sheets hanging outside, the silly schemes to build condos and to fake paternity, and the maternity that proves sufficient, rich while remaining oddly, terribly human, together these and all the rest press into the terrain of myth, suggesting a new story about who we are and why we’re here.

Films don’t reach for so much today. They come with pre-fab questions and we watch them with pre-fab answers looking for confirmation. They depend upon gestures or styles or twists. and indicate they are serious by being unpleasant or “difficult.” Coteau Rouge is different: short, simply shot and simply edited. It moves along at a good clip. It does what it does so economically and enjoyably that it would take no effort on our part at all to take the film as a bit piece too silly for television. Oops. Pause, rewind.

It would take no effort at all–none–to miss the fact that something bigger is going on.

Long live the pariah.

Posted October 10, 2011