Love, life, death on film
By Carey Weinberg
Montreal's Denys Arcand lends faith to Canada's underrated film industry. After creating Decline of The American Empire, Arcand presented the world with a profound movie called Jesus of Montreal.
The International Film Series "Visions of Displacement" continues with its second movie and Allan Gedalof hosts this event. The series is taking place all year, presenting free flicks approximately once a month. This month's presentation is certainly a gem in the Canadian filmic crown.
Part of the power of Jesus of Montreal is its ability to raise more questions than it attempts to answer. The movie is literally littered with loose ends; characters whose story is without closure; plot sequences that dangle, but don't resolve.
Jesus of Montreal is a tragic film which uses elements of metatheatre to illustrate its message. It is a play within a movie. A group of actors are commissioned to update a Catholic church's annual Passion Play. Led by the talented young Columbe (Lothaire Bluteau), the story of Christ takes on new meaning. Columbe becomes a Christ figure himself and slowly, throughout the movie, art imitates life.
The characters are multidimensional and fleshed out so the audience becomes engrossed in the whole story. Jesus of Montreal works on many levels simultaneously as the subtext often merges into the surface story and vice versa.
The skillful and witty dialogue makes any audience member smile even in its wrenching tragic moments. This film's verbal power is augmented by intelligent cinematography, which combine for subtle points of light in a movie marred by the darkness of contemporary society.
Arcand's strength comes through his biting condemnation on modern culture and consumerism. The sardonic wit running through the movie will make you laugh and immediately feel ugly for laughing.
For those of you who contemplate love, life, death and the infinite space in between, go see Jesus of Montreal this Sunday at 2 p.m. in the McKellar Room in UCC. This movie takes your conception of soul, spirit and love and puts it through a cathartic wringer, leaving you purged and cleansed as all good tragedies are wont to do.