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(DVD - 2005 - French)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Léolo Lozone, a twelve-year old dreamer, uses his imagination to escape the realities around him through writing.
Publisher: Chatsworth, CA : Image Entertainment, [2005]
Edition: Widescreen format
Branch Call Number: Fre DVD MOVIE L
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (107 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.


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Dec 05, 2014
  • Nursebob rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“I dream, therefore I am not”. So goes the wistfully recited mantra of young Leo Lauzon, a boy growing up in a squalid Montreal tenement who uses the words as if they were an incantation against the poverty and mental illness which seem to be the birthright of his highly dysfunctional family. Escaping his unhappy lot through elaborate fantasies scribbled in an old notebook (and routinely discarded into the trash) he reimagines himself as Léolo Lozone, son of a Sicilian peasant who miraculously impregnated his French-Canadian mother by way of a batch of imported tomatoes—one of Canadian cinema’s more “colourful” sequences. Now exiled with a crazy family in a ramshackle apartment, Léolo depends on a fierce imagination to bring his lyrical prose to life: a battered bedroom door opens onto a sunny Italian countryside, his catatonic sister is really a paper bag princess brushing her locks by candlelight, and the immigrant girl next door becomes the Beatrice to his pint-sized Dante. And all the while he plots the downfall of grandpa, the brutal patriarch whom Leo blames for the family’s multiple miseries. Gorgeously filmed in sunlight or midnight shadows (and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of guttering candles) and boasting a soundtrack as eclectic as its wee protagonist—Sicilian folk songs, medieval chant, and majestic arias give way to Tom Waits, Mick Jagger, and Loreena Mckennitt—Jean-Claude Lauzon’s psychological tour de force practically leaps off the screen with images both fantastic and crushingly real. It is precisely this juxtaposition of fancy and reality, with an undercurrent of the grotesque, which begs the question—is this the wholly subjective testament of a kid slowly going mad as in Neil Jordan’s The Butcher Boy…or are these simply the child’s eye memoirs of an old man that have grown with the telling? Certainly there are arguments to both interpretations as on one hand we watch the Lauzon living room morph into an insane asylum, while on the other the recurring character of a benign old archivist routinely rescues Leo’s prose from the dumpster. In the end it doesn’t really matter. Presenting the rite of adolescence with all its uncomfortable revelations as a dark fantasy is hardly novel, but in Lauzon’s brilliant hands it becomes a thing of disquieting beauty.

excellent movie! about a french family with a history of catatonic schizophrenia; as seen thru a adolesent writing in a journal about his life before his time runs out and he becomes catatonic also, Loved it!!

Jan 22, 2011
  • George Millar rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Viewer discretion is advised. Not to be viewed after eating, not to be viewed before bedtime and not to be viewed if you can't stand children living their wildest fantasies. A made-in-Canada-unnerving-tour-de-force. It's a rough watch. I hope you can stomach it.


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app05 Version gurli Last updated 2014/12/09 10:52