Archive of films Maelström / Maelström
2000, 88 min
Section: Tribute to Denis Villeneuve
Bibiane undergoes an abortion, her business activities in the family chain of boutiques end in disaster, and on top of that, she inadvertently runs over a pedestrian, who then dies of his injuries. This existential story full of paradoxes, incorporating all kinds of mystical, symbolic, comic, and romantic scenes, has an unusual collective narrator: Norwegian fish being distributed to Montreal restaurants.
Bibiane comes from a rich and famous family but she doesn’t know what to do with her life. She undergoes an abortion, her business activities in the family chain of boutiques end in disaster, and on top of that, she inadvertently runs over a pedestrian, who then dies of his injuries. It might be a run-of-the-mill psychological film if it weren’t narrated by a succession of fish caught near the Norwegian coast and awaiting the coup de grace. Or if the man whose death Bibiane caused were not a former Norwegian fisherman named Annstein. Or if the girl, tossed around by the relativity of being, weren’t in love with his son.... The world, is reminiscent of a vortex that sweeps everything away: hence the film’s title, which also alludes to the famous Edgar Allan Poe story. Villeneuve cleverly changes points of view and even draws the fish directly into the plot when he has the refrigerated van transporting them to restaurants crash on a Montreal street. The mystic atmosphere, conjured up through the use of both pagan and Christian symbols, as well as the methods adopted in classical tragedies, also allows for a dose of humor and romance. Following the detailed depiction of the abortion and the subsequent incineration of the fetus, and the scene of an archetypal fishmonger whose sharp cleaver spares no living thing, we hear the joyful strains of "Good Morning Sunshine” from the musical Hair. André Turpin, as the director’s extended hand, helps Villeneuve arrange the mosaic of scenes into a perfectly compact ensemble. The film received two prestigious Canadian film prizes, the Jutra Award and the Genie Award for Best Film and Best Screenplay, and at the festival in Berlin it was honored with the FIPRESCI Prize.
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About the film
Color, 35 mm
|Section:||Tribute to Denis Villeneuve|
|Dir. of Photography:||André Turpin|
|Producer:||Roger Frappier, Luc Vandal|
|Production:||Max Films Productions|
|Cast:||Marie-Josée Croze, Jean-Nicolas Verreault, Stéphanie Morgenstern, Pierre Lebeau|
|Contact:||Telefilm Canada, Echo Bridge Entertainment|
Film Institution Rep.
Film Institution Rep.