JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Saint-Narcisse (Director: Bruce La Bruce) - May 3, 2023 id="543337086">


4.5 4.5
101 min.

‘Doubles’ jeopardy

Imagine being an orphan, only to discover your mother is still alive.

Imagine visiting your “died-at-birth” grave in a fully populated cemetery.

Imagine your newly found mother designated as a witch.

Imagine your mother’s comely female companion who, apparently, never ages.

Imagine discovering a monastery just a short drive from your reclusive mother’s cabin in the woods.

Imagine coming face to face with your hitherto unknown identical twin, a monk in the making.

Imagine the monastery’s Father is a pedophile.

Imagine willingly engaging in twincest “that’s different—we’re family” an instant rationalization.

Imagine being at first a figurative, then literal reincarnation of St. Sebastian.

From the ever-inventive imagination of Bruce La Bruce (ably assisted by co-writer Martin Girard), this eerie tale of familial malpractice, semi-mistaken identities, bullying in the name of God and long overdue comeuppance is a marvel of writing, cinematography (Michel La Veaux), editing (Hubert Hayaud) and music (original score from Christophe Lamarche-Ladoux—with mighty assists from the likes of J.S. Bach, Tchaikovsky along with Sly and the Family Stone).

From stem (making love in a laundromat—observed by an intrigued audience) to stern (the very extended family, well, increasing their number) the eye is engaged and the ear is delighted.

At the centre of it all is Félix-Antoine Duval’s wide-ranging performance as the twins, Dominic and Daniel. Equally appealing naked or dressed, he brings an honesty and just the right amount of heat while interacting with everyone around him.

Mother Beatrice, provides an appropriately aloof then devoted matriarch by Tania Kontoyanni and she lives a different sort of life with lover past and present: Agathe/Irene is brought to eye-catching life by Alexandra Petrachuk.

As the religious zealot, villain of the piece, Andreas Apergis’ take on Father Andrew readily effuses selfish evil in the Lord’s name. Thank goodness this is fiction…

By journey’s end, it is clear that those still breathing are not entirely innocent, just like in real life where all might wish to “play” some scenes over, but as long as we can look each other in the mirror (as, tellingly, Dominic/Daniel does in the river—a marvellous ode to mythical Narcissus) and not be revolted, then life can move on with confidence. JWR

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Director - Bruce La Bruce
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