Jean-Claude LauzonCanada107 minutes1992ColourFrench
The late Jean-Claude Lauzon evokes Fellini and Vigo in his surreal, scatalogical semi-autobiographical fantasia.
Premiering to much acclaim at Cannes, the late Jean-Claude Lauzon's follow-up to his debut Un zoo la nuit remains a stunning accomplishment by one of our most influential artists. Surreal, scatological and altogether startling, Lauzon's semi-autobiographical fantasia evokes Fellini and Vigo in its portrait of Montréal working-class kid Léo, who prefers the name "Léolo" as he lays claims to an invented Italian heritage rather than his actual Québécois identity, and employs his ferocious imagination to create an inner reality far removed from the quotidian drabness of his tenement home and bizarre family life. "What Jay Scott wrote after seeing Zoo … '[It] is a movie of extremes' … is equally characteristic of Léolo," writes Canadian film historian David L. Pike in his study At the Heart of the World: Canadian Cinema since the 1980s. "'Extremes' is also an accurate assessment of Lauzon's impact on Canadian cinema: not as a model to be emulated so much as a figure who split wide open the narrow confines about what a Québécois — and a contemporary Canadian — film could look like."