I thought Ciné Franco Film Festival had hit the dust due to financial difficulties but, no, it was back again in Toronto, showcasing Franco film. The screenings were terribly refreshing after the mainstream American cinema we are inundated with; unless, of course, we look further than the mass movie theatre oligopoly.
The Denial, from Toronto director Claudia Hébert, is a short about the obsession of Sara (Geneviéve Boivin-Roussy) with Mathieu. Sara is a good looking young woman who has a good job, but she has a little obsession and that is sending Mathieu messages which are never returned.
Over and over she calls to no avail, other than Mathieu changing his number so she can no longer leave messages.
Her psychiatrist urges her to open up to someone other than to this Mathieu.
Sara finally comes to the conclusion that Mathieu is dead has a good cry and the film ends.
I’ve never seen a film quite like this, but it reminds me of some of the commentary in James Frey’s book, A Million Little Pieces, where a recovering alcoholic and drug addict in rehab muses about the line between obsession and addiction being very thin.
Sara’s obsession is hurtful to her and very well illustrates the futility of obsessions. A sad tale, but encouraging in the fact that she seems to realize the obsession has come to an end. Whether she self-destructs after that is not known.
The Denial is a valuable film as it highlights in a clear fashion a simple example of obsession and its futility. On the other hand, it ignores how obsession can sometimes lead to great success in the arts, athletics, and societal contributions.
Obsession is a slippery slope as it can create anywhere between brilliant success and abject destruction.
Marvellous cinematography and acting by Boivin-Roussy.
(Le Déni, director Claudia Hébert, Ontario, 13 minutes, 2016, French with English subtitles, screened 1 November 2016 at the Spadina Theatre in Toronto)