Denis Langlois

Lives in
Montreal , QC
Quebec CA

Director, scriptwriter. The most ambitious and persistent of Montreal’s feature film interpreters of young urban gay identity of the AIDS generation, Concordia-trained Langlois was a stalwart of Main Film co-op, before breaking through with his 21-minute Ma Vie (My Life, 1992). Programmed by TIFF and queer festivals around the world, this dramatized, semi-autobiographical life of Jeannot (played by Langlois) stretches from the hippie sixties through the disco years to the AIDS-panicked start of the nineties. Ma vie allegorizes post-Stonewall gay history as well as lays out the themes of Langlois’s subsequent two features, both co-written with his life partner Bertrand Lachance (b. 1948).

L’Escorte (1996, 91), Langlois’s first full-length feature, expands the scrutiny of loves, relationships, art, loss and mortality among the coke-sniffing young urban queers of the filmmakers’ generation. The twenty-something gay men who are the focus of the film inhabit the Plateau and live lives that have been irremediably affected by AIDS. The gay male friendship circle comedy-melodrama, often set in West Hollywood, has been a staple of the festival circuit, but this tale of a callboy’s destabilization of an interlocked network of a couple and their artsy exes and friends is one of the few Canadian prototypes. Paradoxically, for all Langlois’s strong sense of urban place, Escorte made more of a splash in festivals and theatres abroad, from Winnipeg to Paris, than at home, where some critics baulked at the plot contrivances and other low-budget first-feature symptoms. But audiences appreciated Langlois’s persistent, sincere and observant canvas of everyday life and love in the gay nineties.

Funded with great difficulty, Danny in the Sky (2001) portrayed a confused, straight male stripper with a gay father, and prods the ambiguities within sexual identities and the industries of desire. True to form, despite Danny’s glittery showstoppers and resonant landscape of the “Village gai,” this film did less well in Quebec than abroad, divebombing undeservedly at the box office in the prophet’s own country. In 2003 Langlois determined to change all that as he doggedly moved into production with the queer amnesia melodrama L’Énigme James Edward Brighton, with financing finally in his pocket after a decade of struggle.