Films & Schedules

  • Borderline

  • Lyne Charlebois

110 minutes

Production Company:
Max Films
Roger Frappier, Luc Vandal
Marie-Sissi Labrèche, Lyne Charlebois, based on the novels Borderline and La Brèche by Marie-Sissi Labrèche
Production Designer:
Frédéric Page
Steve Asselin
Yvann Thibaudeau
Gilles Corbeil, Marcel Pothier, Luc Boudrias
Benoit Jutras
Principal Cast: Isabelle Blais, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Angèle Coutu, Sylvie Drapeau, Laurence Carbonneau

Canadian Distributor:
TVA Films
International Sales Agent:
Max Films International

Wednesday September 1009:45PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 1206:30PM VARSITY 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1312:00PM VARSITY 1 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

One of the most striking first features to emerge from Quebec in recent years, Lyne Charlebois's runaway hit Borderline follows a young woman struggling to break free from her past. The heroine is Kiki Labrèche (the incredible Isabelle Blais), a journalist and would-be novelist whose only close, stable relationships are with her dog and her ailing, cantankerous grandmother. Kiki's father is long gone and her mother has been in an asylum for years.

In fact, Kiki is hounded by doubts about her own sanity and, as she puts it, her inability to separate her outside and inside worlds. “I'm transparent,” she explains. “I have to scream so people can see me.” She's constantly being confronted by the excesses of her rather wild and extravagantly promiscuous past, yet remains strangely averse to anything that smells of stability. Her current, tempestuous relationship with her married professor Tchéky (Betty Blue's Jean-Hugues Anglade) is hardly the kind of thing that promotes security.

Kiki is an endlessly intriguing bundle of contradictions. On one level, her divided state suggests Québécois society in a post-separatist phase, but she is also a compelling character in her own right – a writer who can't process her past, but can't move forward until she does. She is like a second cousin to Down to the Dirt's Keith Kavanagh, or possibly a direct descendant of Un Zoo la nuit's Marcel. Charlebois and her collaborators sympathetically detail the factors that have led Kiki to this seeming impasse, but they also foreground the notion of individual agency, leaving Kiki with the power to change course.

A no-holds-barred portrait of a consciousness at war with both itself and the culture that helped form it, Borderline is driven by Charlebois's distinctive visual sense and Blais's powerful turn. One of the most celebrated actresses of her generation, Blais delivers a true tour-de-force performance, creating a character who is alternately infuriating and ingratiating, forlorn and fierce. Her performance is never less than transfixing.

Steve Gravestock

Lyne Charlebois started her film career as a movie still photographer, working with directors such as Jean-Claude Lauzon, Gilles Carle and Pierre Falardeau. She then began directing music videos, creating more than one hundred in a ten-year span. Her work also includes the television series Nos étés and Tabou and the documentary fiction Yin Yang (04). Borderline (08) is her feature directing debut.

Cadillac People's Choice Award