Icarus Films will be teaming with the KimStim Collection for the Oct. 17 DVD release of Quebec-based writer/director Dennis Côté’s Boris Without Beatrice.
The prolific Côté takes us in a slightly different direction this time out with an interesting character study of a deeply flawed, but nevertheless powerful businessman played by James Hyndman (the Boris of the title). Côté quickly outlines Boris’ character with several vignettes (hint: he’s not all that likeable) and then we get to the second half of the film’s title, Beatrice (Simone-Élise Girard), who has had an emotional breakdown and is now bed-ridden.
There are many clues as to the why of her condition. Her stepdaughter, Justine (played by Laetitia Isambert-Denis), is a shrew, who views her father with contempt and his “trophy” bride as nothing more than a decoration. Being around such a hateful snob (of wealth and privilege) would be enough to depress anyone.
Add to this, we learn that Boris is a serial philander, but he may actually be in love with his wife despite all of his indiscretions … during the course of the film he manages to squeeze in two more affairs while his wife is bed-ridden. How does one remain sane with such mixed signals?
If you follow the films of Dennis Côté’ (especially Vic + Flo Saw a Bear and Our Private Lives) you know to expect the unexpected. There is that, the unexpected, here as well with the sudden introduction of a mysterious stranger (played by Denis Lavant) who both lectures Boris and offers insights to a path forward that might serve to resolve the conflicts of an ailing wife, an untenable relationship with his daughter and a mother (Louise Laprade) whose vocabulary does not include the word “love.”
Boris Without Beatrice is presented in French with English subtitles.
The following week, Oct. 24, Icarus Films returns with the DVD release of Portraits of America: Two films by Natalie Bookchin. Included here are two short “performance” films … Bookchin is an artist whose work is beyond the bounds of traditional art motifs.
Here she works with film as her expressive medium and Icarus presents us with Long Story Short — over 100 homeless people throughout Los Angeles tell of their experiences in a multi-screen presentation, with their “unique” experiences and the expressions of how they feel, overlapping with the same sentiments of the others … parallel worlds intersecting, meeting and dancing away. A shared experience presented from over 100 different points of view.
The second short film, titled Now, he’s out in public and everyone can see,
was initially viewed as a multi-television presentation in an art gallery venue — talking heads on TVs throughout the room whose stories were collected over several years from internet blogs all voicing their opinions on the same subject.
These video blogs have been combined into a multi-screen presentation for the DVD presentation and is downright creepy. All of the video-bloggers posted their rants separately over several years and they had nothing in common with each other, except their subject, which was an unnamed “black” friend or acquaintance.
The sameness of their comments, their denials and their disclaimers all combine to create a narrative that is nothing short of disturbing.