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Vol. 8, No. 1, 2009
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Robert J. Lewis
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4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
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kim nguyen's

Kim Nguyen


reviewed by


Sylvain RichardSylvain Richard is a film critic at Arts & Opinion. He gave Truffe, which played at Montreal's 2008 Fantasia Film Festival, 3.1 out of 4 stars. For the rest of his ratings, click HERE.

Kim Nguyen's cutting edge black and white film, Truffe, is a kaleidoscopic, sci-fi proposition that, dans un monde possible, whets our appetite for the exotic truffle that grows best in a working class area of Montreal that has been bizarrely favoured by the effects of global warming.

In the eponymous film, the truffles -- mined like coal -- are the feeding and focal points of an cinematic allegory that benefits from astute directing and off-the-wall tectonic shifts that will either delight or deflate viewers when they learn that the much sought after delicacy is the object of a takeover by a company that plans to exercise mind control over an unsuspecting citizenry.

Enter Charles, played by Saguenay chiseled, recessive gene dominant Roy Dupuis (Shake Hands with the Devil), who unlike anyone else in the hood, k(nose) how to sniff out the precious mushroom that provokes all sorts of scuffle and hustle and portentous evil in men's hearts.

Charles and wife initially employ the sacré truffle to keep their low-end restaurant afloat. Much gustatory attention is given to the scrumptious, saliva generating food, its incorporation into the local poutine dish that has the effect of transporting the etiquette challenged lower classes to a state of grace worthy of Babette’s Feast.

Ever resourceful and now budding celebrity Charles is persuaded to offer his truffle ferreting talents to a competing company that wants to monopolizes the succulent mushroom by empowering an army of serpentine furry creatures blessed with the diabolical ability to deny humans of their volition. In dream sequence fashion, we find ourselves in a world where everyone is in danger of being taken over by an amorphous alien force.

Enter Charles' wife, played by Celine Bonnier, a lithesome women of few words, who dedicates herself to decommissioning the aliens of their power over her haunted hubby, and by extension, friends and good neighbours. Will she prevail? The answer is rendered in 75 minute sprint to the finish.

Given Truffe's potpourri of disparate ingredients, this viewer expected the entire premise to crash well before its conclusion, but it didn’t because of the quasi lysergical, psychotropic effects skillfully confectioned by writer/director Kim Nguyen, who manages to float the viewer so that the floating and film's multi-directional peregrinations meaningfully saturate each other, resulting in an unexpectedly enjoyable cinematic experience that features food, as potent protein and protean symbol, taken to the outer limits -- and then some. The rich symbolism is an open category whose readings and interpretations are happily supplied by the viewer, provided the film hasn’t turned him into a narcoleptic or induced an analysis informed by untimely disturbances proper to the lower intestine.

Kim Nyugen, assuming he'll eventually decide to work more closely with terra firma material, is definitely a director to keep a third eye on.

For the ratings of Montreal's 2008 Fantasia Film Festival, click HERE.
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