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Denis Côté

  • Country: Canada
  • Year: 2010
  • Language: French
  • Producer: Stéphanie Morissette
  • Screenplay: Denis Côté
  • Runtime: 96
  • Programmes:

Set in a village in Quebec, Denis Côté’s Curling follows inveterate loner Jean-François, a single father, and his isolated 12-year-old daughter Julyvonne. Between his unremarkable jobs, Jean-François devotes an awkward energy to Julyvonne until some unexpected events jeopardize the fragile balance of their relationship.

AlienationChildrenIdentityMental HealthViolence

screening times

official description

Denis Côté’s most accessible feature film to date, Curling is a fascinating work that revisits many of the preoccupations of his previous films Les États nordiques, Nos vies privées, Elle veut le chaos and Carcasses. But here, the celebrated Québécois filmmaker unfolds his minimalist narrative from the inside out, instead of his usual outside-in stories. The result is an impressively austere film that establishes an immediate emotional connection.

It is the dead of winter in a rural Quebec village. Everyone in town knows Jean-François (Emmanuel Bilodeau), a single father who works nights at a deserted bowling alley and days in a rundown motel. His daughter, Julyvonne (Philomène Bilodeau, Emmanuel’s real life daughter), is mysteriously absent from the community. As it turns out, she never leaves their home. Jean-François home-schools and isolates her, fearing that contact with the outside world will scar her the way it has him.

As with Côté’s previous films, motivations and past history have little relevance here – what matters lies within the frame. Sensitive, expressive images are crafted to perfection by cinematographer Josée Deshaies (Tiresia, All That She Wants), while Côté masterfully distorts our perception of time, letting it linger in beguiling stillness as winter slowly seeps away.

Curling’s incisive family portrait is disturbed by several fractured events: the disappearance of a young boy from home; Julyvonne’s discovery of corpses in the nearby woods; Jean-François’s out-of-character enthusiasm for curling; and an unexpected encounter with a tiger that symbolically unlocks the father and daughter’s psychological cage, giving the film a surreal and poetic resonance.

Martin Bilodeau

director bio

Denis Côté was born in New Brunswick and studied film at Ahuntsic College in Montreal. His first short film, Des Tortues dans la pluie (97), screened at numerous international film festivals. His other short films include Mieux (98), Seconde valse (00), L’Hypoténuse (07), Mécanique de l’assassin (02) and La Sphatte (03). More recently, he directed the features Les États nordiques (05), Nos vies privées (07), Elle veut le chaos (08), Carcasses (09) and Curling (10).

full credits

Principal Cast: Emmanuel Bilodeau, Philomène Bilodeau, Roc Lafortune, Sophie Desmarais, Muriel Dutil
Stéphanie Morissette
Josée Deshaies
Nicolas Roy
Frédéric Cloutier
Production Designer:
Marjorie Rhéaume

Canadian Distributor:
 Metropole Films/Mongrel Media  
International Sales Agent:
 Doc & Film International
Production Company:
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