This was a fortuitous trailer clip for me to review since this documentary hails from Quebec and I’ve just completed an article on French-Canadian cinema and how loved and appreciated the films are in Quebec.
This one’s not a work of fiction but a documentary entitled “La Belle Visite” (aka “The Beautiful Visitor”). The documentary focuses on an abandoned motel which has now been converted into a retirement home.
The short clip indicates that the film will move at a leisurely pace wherein the viewer will get to observe the inner workings of this self-contained, one might even say remote, private world of the aged. Visits with doctors will punctuate the days as well as paying attention to one’s blood pressure, with the odd night of bingo thrown in here and there to liven things up. The title might refer to an actual visit but I suspect its meaning is purely allegorical. In fact, the only beautiful visit any of the residents are likely to get is the visit of death itself. The fact that the word beautiful is used to describe this generally unwelcome visitor is most likely in keeping with the celebratory intent of the documentary.
The mood evoked by the clip is one of somber, yet gentle, realism with the object being to shed some light on the plight of growing old with tenderness and compassion.
The distinctive cadences of the French being spoken immediately identify the film as a product of Quebec sensibility and culture, although, of course, this might not be so apparent to a non speaker of French.
It’s directed by Jean-Francois Caissy, a filmmaker I know virtually nothing about, yet I really do think there’s a lot of talent at work here and this film definitely screams, “I’m a keeper.”
. . .
Follow Josiane Ochman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PiloteXYZ.