This had most of the elements i like a film to have to draw me in: central characters who are isolated loners and socially inept; self-effacing acting; understated emotion; oddball sensibility; a low-key plot with gentle narrative; quiet feelings being sensitively explored; no grandiose transitions, no exaggerated pretensions; an overall sense of something sad but authentic going on The actor(Emmanuel Bilodeau) playing the father is so lugubriously shy, and moustachely beshnozzled, i didn't at first realise he was gonna be the central character. The other central character is his real-life daughter – and she's equally as unassuming and introverted. Good. This is going to be about real life then (as i know it) Ordinary flattened life. Cleaning toilets. Eating porridge. Feeling cold. And its pretty cold in this solitary snowy windy bit of Quebec. The passive dependency of the father daughter relationship, the sense that they were both trapped small inside one another got into me too – somewhere deep and personal. The father is a decent enough bloke, not especially bossy or cruel – and yet is blocking his daughter, "Julyvonne" by projecting his inhibiting lack of life into her, keeping her safe by making her stay small; she doesn't go to school, doesn't have any friends, doesn't have much contact – so is naively dependent on her shy introverted father to provide her with what? – nothing much it seems; no TV, no computer, no mobile phone (even!) the occasional rationed out bit of music from the Hi-Fi if she's merited it ("I Think We're Alone Now". Yeah, I think you're alone now. Alone together. Stuck with one another. And what you gonna do about it? Nothing. Or maybe .) Yes, their abnormal togetherness does make you wonder, slightly uneasily, about what might be "there" implicitly, subconsciously, between them – even if nothing is actually explicitly going on. We're not in Josef Fritzl territory here but . still. Oddly, their togetherness doesn't seem that intimate; there's an absence of warmth, animated feeling, demonstrable affection – as if any father/daughter love that might have existed has frozen over, become as cold as the snow outside. There's other stuff thrown into the narrative; Julyvonne finds a heap of dead frozen bodies and is morbidly compelled to be going back to be with them; a little boy goes missing; a trucker checks out of a motel room and leaves blood splattered everywhere. These vignettes are like loose, lost ends left as vague tracks in the snow trailing away to somewhere too far off to be followed (or explained) By the end father is taking Julyvonne sledging to whoop it down hill with others. Oh, and he's shaved that funny moustache off. So its possible some love might be thawing some warmer life back into them and between them after all. (Didn't quite think this quiet redemptive transformation was fully realised to be honest. But you can"t just leave the hopeless pair of them out in the lonely cold forever. Can you?!)
On the fringe of society in a remote part of the French-Canadian countryside, the fragile relationship and unusual private life of a father and daughter is jeopardized by dreary, unforeseen circumstances.
May 12, 2020