Nelly

Anne ÉmondCanada100 minutes201618AColourFrench

Award-winning filmmaker Anne Émond (Nuit #1, Les êtres chers) returns to the Festival with this creatively imagined biopic of controversial Quebec writer Nelly Arcan, who scandalized the French literary world with her semi-autobiographical novel based on her experiences as a sex worker.

Intro and Q&A with director Anne Émond

The frankness and dramatic weight that writer-director Anne Émond (Nuit #1, Les êtres chers) lends her stories is nothing short of extraordinary. Her third feature, Nelly, is made with the same unflinching approach, taking the multi-faceted nature of its subject as an inspiration for its very form. One of the most controversial writers in Quebec history, Nelly Arcan (born Isabelle Fortier) published Putain (Whore) in 2001, causing a sensation in literary circles with a tale of prostitution based on her own experience in the trade. But with the success of that debut novel came crushing anxieties, all of which found their way into her work. Émond writes the onscreen Nelly as a composite of Arcan’s many personas and her fictional characters, brought to life in an astounding, kaleidoscopic performance by Mylène Mackay. As the film moves from one striking passage of the author’s oeuvre to the next, from elating highs to desperate lows, we are immersed in her lush and punishing world.

MAGALI SIMARD

Le regard franc et le sens du drame dont témoignent les films de la scénariste-réalisatrice Anne Émond (Nuit #1, Les êtres chers) sont sans égal. Nelly, son troisième long métrage, est traversé par cette même approche inébranlable, et les multiples facettes de son sujet en inspirent la forme. En 2001, Nelly Arcan (née Isabelle Fortier), l'une des écrivaines les plus controversées de l'histoire du Québec, a publié Putain. Ce roman a causé une véritable onde de choc dans le monde littéraire, car elle y racontait la prostitution en se basant sur sa propre expérience. Mais le succès de ce premier livre a entraîné son lot d'anxiété, un sentiment dévastateur qui a empreint le reste de son œuvre. Émond crée ici une Nelly qui est la somme des différents visages d'Arcan et de ses personnages fictifs, etla protagoniste est magnifiquement incarnée par Mylène Mackay dans une performance kaléidoscopique à couper le souffle. Tandis que le film parcourt tour à tour les moments marquants de l'œuvre de l'auteure, le vertige de ses hauts et de ses bas, il nous plonge dans son univers à la fois riche et sans merci.

Female DirectorFemale ExperienceLiterary InterestDramaGender, Sexuality + IdentityFeminismCanada
director
Anne Émond

Anne Émond is a Montreal-based filmmaker. She has written and directed many short films, including Naissances (09) and Sophie Lavoie (10), which both played TIFF, as did her Jutra Award–winning debut feature Nuit #1 (11) and Les êtres chers (15), which was selected for the Canada's Top Ten Film Festival. Her latest feature is Nelly (16).