FNC: A feast for the eyes from all over

Poor Boy’s Game If a title like this one appeals to you, then I’d almost recommend Poor Boy’s Game. The film is as much about boxing as it is about racism, gangsters, atonement, vengeance, misunderstandings, love and respect. The problem is that the film is about all this at the same time; it is a ratatouille of dramatic flavors that somehow was meticulously mashed into an inconsistent goop that may fill the belly, but doesn’t quite satisfy the taste buds.

Poor Boy’s Game

If a title like this one appeals to you, then I’d almost recommend Poor Boy’s Game.
The film is as much about boxing as it is about racism, gangsters, atonement, vengeance, misunderstandings, love and respect.
The problem is that the film is about all this at the same time; it is a ratatouille of dramatic flavors that somehow was meticulously mashed into an inconsistent goop that may fill the belly, but doesn’t quite satisfy the taste buds.
Perhaps I’m calling a spade a bloody shovel here. So, I’ll mention the courageous effort by writer/director Clément Virgo to bring this complex story alive. The film is well produced and scored, but it ain’t easy to be a gangsta in Halifax. It is definitely an honest attempt at producing commercially viable entertainment in Canada’s fledgling English film industry, so I applaud thee.
Plagued by its transitions between an overly eclectic mix of themes, the film doesn’t give enough TLC to it’s subject matter. The crescendo towards the climatic boxing match has more bumps than the TSE, with an ebb and flow that struggles to push forward a juggling act of themes and messages. Furthermore, the complexity of the story doesn’t correctly compliment the character development.
The film doesn’t necessarily lag at any given time, in fact, it is throwing so many punches at once, that it’s simply exhausting itself, leaving no energy and focus for the final rounds.
For all the cineastes out there, this film is worth seeing. It is a film full of hits and misses. One can learn from its well-crafted strengths and it’s overshadowing weaknesses.

Friday, Oct. 12
7:15 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 14
1:15 p.m.

@ Ex-centris, 3536 St-Laurent.
Length: 104 min

Tout est pardonné

Tout est pardonné is a film that approaches its subject matter with the careful respect it truly deserves.
Victor (Paul Blain) is a father who struggles with his own afflictions. His wife Annette (Marie Christine Friedrich) and daughter Pamela (Victoire and Constance Rousseau) rue in the fallout created by Victor’s addictions and his meek self-confidence. He slowly retracts from his family, falling deeper into depression until it becomes unbearable for the family. When Annette leaves with Pamela, Victor is left a broken man.
Ten years later, Victor reaches out to Pamela. They re-unite for the occasional day at the park. They begin to write to each other. The relationship they share does not swell with love or sadness, but feels more like an exercise in scientific observation, with both parties remaining at a distance from the subject, out of respect and cautiousness. Reunification is treated here in a stark reality which forces the audience to wonder how this all could end.
The complexity of the characters is what makes this melodrama so exceptional. Victor’s character is so well developed – he is a bonifide example of all that men fear in themselves. He represents inner anguish, inferiority, diminished self-confidence and irreverence. All this is siphoned through a beautiful personality who wants to only to be truly loved and to be successful.
Annette herself is weak – much like Victor – but is willed to carry on with a motherly, I-will-survive type outlook. Pamela is a gem, the most adorable of children and the most admirable of teenagers.
The movie is not about addiction or depression, but the complexity of a character that suffers from both. It is an ode to the forgotten man who lets himself become lost, it is about struggling with that reality.

Monday, Oct. 15
3:30 p.m. @ Impérial 1430 reu Bleury.

Saturday, Oct. 13
7:00 p.m. @ Ex-centris.

Sunday, Oct. 14
3:00 p.m. @ Ex-centris, 3536 St-Laurent.
Length: 105 min

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