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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nyugen, assuming he'll eventually decide to work more closely
with terra firma material, is definitely a director
to keep a third eye on.
the ratings of Montreal's 2008 Fantasia Film Festival, click