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Year: 2000
Language: French
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 95 min
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Producer: Luc Vandal, Roger Frappier
Writer: Denis Villeneuve
Cinematographer: André Turpin
Editor: Richard Comeau
Sound: Louis Gignac
Music: Pierre Desrochers
Cast: Pierre LeBeau, Marie-Josée Croze, Jean-Nicholas Verreault, Stephanie Morgenstern
Production Company: Max Films Communications

In 1998, writer-director Denis Villeneuve dazzled audiences with his feature film debut, Un 32 août sur terre; then, in 2000, he returned with the visually and emotionally powerful Maelström, a tale of destiny that follows a young woman as her life spirals into chaos.

Raised in an affluent, influential household, Bibiane (Croze) now runs a chain of successful high-end fashion stores. Despite her fast-paced lifestyle, Bibiane’s world is remarkably empty. Her life revolves around work, her ultra-chic apartment and partying in trendy clubs.

Having just ended an unwanted pregnancy and facing the loss of her business after some mismanaged transactions are discovered, her life begins to unravel. She attempts to drown her troubles by hanging out in bars, carousing and bringing home different men. Her best friend (Morgenstern) tries to counsel Bibiane on her actions, but to no avail. One night, drunk and on her way home from a club, Bibiane perpetrates a hit and run. She has little recollection of what transpired but soon discovers evidence that implicates her in the crime.

Drawn into the world of her victim, Bibiane becomes more frantic about her involvement in the accident. She contemplates taking her own life, but when confronted with this grim moment, instead an opportunity arises. Bibiane meets Evian (Verreault), the son of the victim, and realizes she has another chance for life and love.

Told by an unconventional narrator in a completely novel manner, Maelström examines the cycles of life and death and considers the possibility of redemption. While delving into difficult terrain, Villeneuve balances the film with refreshing humour and optimism. André Turpin's cinematography is breathtaking and the film's haunting narrative resonates long after the last frame.

Maelström won five Genies in 2000, including best picture, best director and best screenplay.