An excerpt from the booklet essay by Tom McSorley

From his startling debut feature, Drifting States (Les états nordiques, 2005) to his most recent work, Denis Côté has been imaginatively recalibrating ideas of intimacy and perception, not only between the characters who populate his attenuated, strangely absorbing dramas, but also, beyond the frame lines of his often arresting images, in that peculiarly intimate relationship between spectator and screen. His genre-blending, hybridised works combine low-budget ingenuity with daring formal experimentation to forge one of the most distinctive cinematic signatures in contemporary Canadian cinema. Often concerned with the universal resonance and meaning of intimate relationships between marginal and marginalised characters, Côté’s work is consistently inventive. It is an oeuvre that continues in the tradition of the fiercely independent auteurist traditions of filmmakers like Jean Pierre Lefebvre and pioneering video artist, Robert Morin, with unexpected, even unlikely, shades of Pierre Perrault, Marc-André Forcier, and Jean-Claude Lauzon.

The cinema of Denis Côté’s is the product of a rich, inquisitive sensibility engaged with the possibilities and problems of representation and intimacy. Within the gnarled aesthetic possibilities and problems resides a question that is the organising mystery of his cinema: what exists between us? In other words, what is there between people to keep them together or apart, and, if it can be identified, what does it mean? Formally speaking, these epistemological inquiries are posed in the very narrative structures themselves, constructed with uncertain characters and motivations, containing many plot caesura and unanswered questions, and pulled dramatically taut with structured absences, things seeming to happen offscreen, beyond the edges of the frame. In this way, Côté insinuates that questions for the characters become questions for the spectator: what is going on onscreen and, indeed, offscreen, and what meanings do we ascribe to what we witness or suspect? It is in the asking of these questions that Denis Côté films construct their considerable drama and mystery.

The quiet, unsettling power of Côté’s cinema resides in its exploration of the in-between spaces of characters and spectators, and in its refusal to end the accumulation of mysteries. Each Côté film in its own way asks us to ask ourselves a number of questions. Where do we locate ourselves, and why, in relation to what we are witnessing? What exists between the characters onscreen? What exists between the spectator and the screen? As a result of these interrogations, the films of Denis Côté generate a fascinating poetics of uncertainty that operate at both thematic and formal levels. From the actual intimate experiences of the characters (intense, emotional, absurd, irrational) to the insistent formal frissons of documentary and fictional modes, the fuel for Côté’s work is the uncertainty, the not knowing. In this sense, his resistance to commercial modes of cinematic storytelling is both imaginative and invigorating. His work intelligently affirms that, in the encounter of the spectator and the moving image, to discover what may be found in those spaces between eye and ear and screen, we must keep looking, listening, and thinking.


Tom McSorley's complete essay, from which this excerpt is taken, appears in the booklet which accompanies the release.

Disc Info

Canada, 2010
Main feature: 96 mins
Special features: 40 minutes
Sound: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio / 2.0 Stereo LPCM (48k/164-bit)
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Language: French
Subtitles: English

Blu-ray: BD50 / 1080 / 24fps / Region ABC (Region Free)

Blu-Ray: £19.99
Release Date: 13 April 2020


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