L'Usure

Alternative Title: 
By Attrition

1986
8.0'
Director: 
Distributor: 
  • Boxfilm
Synopsis

Crépeau’s work has always been resolutely urban, as the memory of L'Usure (1986) testifies with its not dissimilar narrative of a burnt-out couple rekindling the fire, all the while standing on the pavement in the middle of a bleak Montreal street. This time there’s a kind of self-conscious bracketing of this urbanity, summoning it only as a framing device at beginning and end (somewhat the reverse of Pool’s structure in Anne Trister and Emporte-moi ). As if the singing of birds and cutaway reaction shots of placid cows were not enough to accent the self-conscious and no doubt impossible heterotopia of this world, which is somewhat akin to Polly’s absurd black and white fantasies in Mermaids , Crépeau brings intertextuality to the rescue. Her richly allusive mosaic serves not only to compensate for the lost complexity of her script (sacrified when the funders lowered her budget and imposed restraint) but also to contextualize, comment on, and undermine the interrelated dialectics of city and country, of heterosexuality and homosexuality, and also – given it’s Quebec – of French and English. Crépeau’s simple story (city girl loses city girl, meets country girl instead) becomes a web for weaving texts that pertain to all three dialectics, from naive early French-language documentaries mystifying the wildflower-bedecked and maple-sweet heartland to a traditional English a collage of veiled and not so veiled homoerotic European oil paintings, deftly animated to wink at the viewer. Co-dir: Stéphan Fortin