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Continental, Un Film Sans Fusil

(Continental, A Film Without Guns)

Year: 2007
Language: French
Format: 35mm/Colour
Runtime: 103 minutes
Director: Stéphane Lafleur
Producer: Luc Déry, Kim McCraw
Cinematographer: Sara Mishara
Editor: Sophie Leblond
Sound: Sylvain Bellemare, Pierre Bertrand, Bernard Gariépy Strobl
Music: Hugo Lavoie, Stéphane Lafleur
Principal Cast: Marie-Ginette Guay, Gilbert Sicotte, Réal Bossé, Fanny Mallette, Pauline Martin
Production Company: micro_scope
Canadian Distributor: Christal Films Distribution
International Sales Agents: Christal Films International

Simultaneously elegant and absurd, Continental, un film sans fusil was the debut feature film by director Stéphane Lafleur.

A city bus wheezes through darkness until, with an odd sense of ceremony, it stops in a forest. A perplexed businessman descends, takes in his surrounding and walks into the woods. “Men disappear when they want to start something new,” the police tell his wife. In response, she posts “missing” signs on telephone poles as if he were a cat.

The disappearance of the businessman triggers unexpected, elliptical relationships among four solitary characters desperately searching for companionship. A pretty receptionist at a sparsely populated hotel leaves a phone message: “The test results were negative; it’s probably for the best.” We later realize she left the message for herself. She begins to pursue a guest – an insurance salesman – who has recently been hired to replace the missing businessman. As they stumble toward a connection, we return to the painfully comic ambivalence of the businessman’s abandoned wife, who defiantly throws out his belongings – only to chase down the garbage truck to get them back. The absent husband makes his presence felt through wordless but loaded phone calls that hit her like silent grenades.

With incisive humour and compassion, Lafleur explores the ways our desires make us vulnerable and the comedic moments wonderfully illuminate and leaven the film’s striking depth and wisdom. Continental, un film sans fusil won the best Canadian first feature award at the Toronto International Film Festival; the Borsos Award for best Canadian feature film at the 2007 Whistler film festival; and four Jutra Awards (best film, best director, best screenplay and best supporting actor); and was nominated for five Genie Awards (including best picture). Continental, un films sans fusil had its world premiere at the Venice film festival and also screened at Rotterdam.

By: Marguerite Pigott