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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tu Dors Nicole

Here is a film that is almost daring you to watch. Tu Dors Nicole (You Are Sleeping, Nicole), is a French-Canadian indie that is almost inert in its lack of action. It's the kind of film in which so little happens that when something does happen, it's momentous. It is pretty much for cinephiles only.

Nicole (Julianne Côté) is a young woman enjoying her summer while her parents are on vacation. She spends most of her time with her friend Veronique (Catherine St.-Laurent), while her older brother is working with his rock trio. She has a menial job at a clothing store.

Slowly, though, things start falling apart. Her ex-boyfriend is engaged to be married. She and Veronique have a falling out. A tragedy strikes the band. She gets fired from her job. Nicole's savior may just be a boy who has a prematurely deep voice.

Tu Dors Nicole was written and directed by Stéphane Lafleur and he pretty much dares us to watch. Nicole is a character who reveals little. When the film opens she is leaving a one-night stand. Off screen, the man asks if he'll see her again. "What for?" she answers. She does not emote much. I think one of the only times she smiles is when she receives her first credit card in the mail, which partially leads to her downfall. I think I had that same moment.

The film is shot in black and white and subsists on details. Just what is in a cooler kept by the drummer. The score of a miniature golf game. The Icelandic word for vacuum cleaner. How a geyser is formed. All these details add up to real life, which Tu Dors Nicole strives for. I suppose, in a way, despite a few melodramatic turns, that the film is an example of hyperrealism. Life can be interesting, life can be boring, and sometimes all at once.

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