A Panorama on Common Aspects and Perspectives on the Big Screen

in 27th Regard - Saguenay International Short Film Festival

by Michela Manente

The short movies in the Canadian section at the Regard International Short Film Festival (22-25 March 2023) showed interconnected points of view between several aspects, starting from the film production system, a flowering industry in Québec. Co-productions were common as, for example, the short film directed by Zoé Pelchat & Jean-François Sauvé Atlantis (2023), shot on an exotic seaside, or the film directed by Émilie Mannering To life and love (À la vie à l’amor, 2022) on the topic of unconditional love.

The second point of view that is important to underline regarding Regard Festival 2023 is about the scenery or, better said, the set design. The main subjects in the photography were the films shot in Québec’s beautiful, uncontaminated lands with its mountains covered with evergreen trees, pristine grounds, and sparkling white snow. This panorama preferably allows stories about murders, disappearances, or the appearances of horror creatures lurking in nature, like in the thriller The Fading by Rafaël Beauchamp (Les battues, 2023), where the forest is one of the main characters or in Naked (Nu, 2022) by Olivier Labonté LeMoynein which the lead couple ends up being part of a fairy forest, or in Little Deaths (Petites Morts, 2022) by Terence Chotard, a strange story that happens in a terrifying forest. The third point is about  Canada’s specificity as a country that hosts citizens of different origins, such as Madeleine (2023), by Brazilian-Canadian Raquel Sancinetti, winner of the FIPRESCI award 2023, which tells the relationship between two women of different ages who make a trip and discover themselves, Mamita (2022) by Luis Molinié, a Peruvian family story, Element (2023) by Will Niava & Latigone N’Goma of the Ivory Coast, which takes place in Côte d’Ivoire where a group of young delinquents who tries to find new ways to make a living,  Hills and Mountains (Koha wa Tapaha, 2022) by Salar Pashtoonyarthe story of an Afghan woman forced to the edge of her society, Manitushiss (2022) by Innu filmmaker Réal Jr. Leblanc, that expresses criticism of our relationship to Mother Earth, Simo (2022) by Aziz Zoromba, on an Egyptian family and the sibling rivalry between two brothers, Tskaltubo (2023) by Toby Andris, which is set in Georgia and explores relationships between refugees. 

Last but not least, the attention paid by the documentary filmmakers to real stories of humanity is remarkable, like in Cherry (2023) by Laurence Gagné-Frégeau, on courage, resilience, friendship, Fire-Jo Ball (2023) by Audrey Nantel-Gagnon, oscillating between spectacular and intimate with its portrait of a bartender and dancer, The thirty-second season (La trente-deuxième saison, 2023) by Charles-Émile Lafrance, on the theme of solitude, or in the short film by Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre La théorie Lauzon (2022) about the life of the prematurely-deceased talented director Jean-Claude Lauzon, or in the fictional short movie Invincible (2022) by Vincent René-Lortie, awarded with the 2023 Jury Prize, which tells of the troubled youth of a boy known by the director as a boy. Plus, in the documentary section at Regard 2023, there is remarkable attention to youngsters, as in Virga by Jean-François Leblanc, in Summer Nights (2022) about the world of skaters, or in Until you die (Jusqu’à c’è que tu meures, 2023) by Florence Lafond on the theme of an open relationship.

Finally, the section hosted a spectacular animated short film that won many prizes and an Oscar nomination: The flying sailor (Le matelot volant, 2022) by Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby, which aptly summarizes Regard: a sudden and unexpected voyage on Canadian cinema.

Michela Manente
Edited by Anne-Christine Loranger