Films & Schedules

  • Derrière moi
    Behind Me

  • Rafaël Ouellet

87 minutes

Production Company:
Stéphanie Morissette
Rafaël Ouellet
Production Designer:
Claudie Bouchard
Pascal L'Heureux, Rafaël Ouellet
Rafaël Ouellet
Daniel Fontaine-Bégin
Gilles-Vincent Martel, Stéphane Paquin
Principal Cast: Carina Caputo, Charlotte Legault, Patrice Dubois

Canadian Distributor:
Seville Pictures

Friday September 0509:00PM VARSITY 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Sunday September 0712:30PM AMC 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

In Rafaël Ouellet's assured and disturbing Derrière moi, Betty (Carina Caputo), a strange yet striking woman with a mysterious past, arrives in a small Quebec town on vacation. Bored, she wanders around lackadaisically and strikes up a friendship with lonely fourteen-year-old Léa (Charlotte Legault), a young girl who works part-time at the hotel where Betty is staying. Gradually, Betty introduces Léa to the pleasures of overindulgence, dragging her to parties with slightly older, more experienced kids where booze and other assorted intoxicants are readily available. As the two girls grow closer, we begin to question whether this isn't too much too soon for Léa.

Anyone lucky enough to see Le Cèdre penché at last year's Festival knows that Ouellet has a marked gift for establishing atmosphere with less conventional means (the key exchange between the two sisters in his previous film was musical rather than verbal). He possesses a singular ability to hang fire, leaving central questions unanswered and the audience on tenterhooks. In the intimate yet somehow unsettling worlds Ouellet creates, dialogue is far less significant than undertone – and no one is naturally inclined to express themselves openly. This refusal to state things directly results in a kind of oppressive uncertainty, which grows increasingly intense as you witness Léa struggle with experiences and emotions far beyond her capabilities. This unease is further exacerbated by Betty's odd forthrightness and her aggressive attempts to ingratiate herself with the kids of the town.

Ouellet is aided by a truly stellar cast. Legault is perfect as the gawky, terminally bored Léa, needy and anxious to experience something new. As Betty, Caputo embodies contradictions: both pathetic and fearsome, she is at once tackily striking and genuinely exotic. The whole enterprise is buoyed by the film's visual feel – courtesy of Pascal L'Heureux and Ouellet himself – which exquisitely captures the miasmic torpor of a small-town summer, establishing just the right tone for what may be a season in hell. With Derrière moi, Ouellet affirms his place among the cadre of young filmmakers taking alternative, unconventional routes to push Quebec cinema into new and intriguing territory.

Steve Gravestock

Rafaël Ouellet was born in Matagami, Quebec, and studied at CÉGEP de Jonquière. He has directed numerous concert films, videos and television projects. He edited Denis Côté's feature Les États nordiques (05) and shot Côté's Nos vies privées (07), both of which screened at the Festival. He made his feature directing debut with Le Cèdre penché (07), which screened at last year's Festival. Derrière moi (08) is his second feature.

Cadillac People's Choice Award