Les Pas D'Allure


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Les Pas D'Allure
"Though initially frustrating, it coalesces into a rich satirical comedy with a side helping of carefully restrained romance – and possibly the end of civilisation as we know it." | Photo: Fantasia International Film Festival

In an age of information overload, it can sometimes be difficult to discern what is and isn’t true, or what one should trust. Angie (Sophie Desmarais) trusts Benju (Jean-Sébastien Courchesne) enough to let him into her apartment in the middle of the night – after all, they used to be in a relationship, and it’s plain that there is still a deep affection between them – but try as she might, she’s not sure she can believe him when he tells her, quite cheerfully, that he has just been kidnapped and held at knifepoint, especially as he doesn’t have a mark on him. “It sounds like bullshit but it’s not bullshit,” he protests feebly. “Of course it’s not believable.” But he persists. it all began, he explains, when he met a man called Ernest in a public toilet and Ernest convinced him to break into somebody’s house.

So begins a long shaggy dog story which takes in baseball, conceptual art, secret right wing conspiracies, ancient artefacts and mind control. At first it is so expansive and esoteric that writer/director Alexandre Leblanc seems to be throwing ideas out there just for the sake of it, but somehow he manages to pull it all back together by the end so that a sort of sense emerges, even if that relies, in itself, on awareness that people will believe nonsense. It fits in well at 2022’s Fantasia International Film Festival. Though initially frustrating, it coalesces into a rich satirical comedy with a side helping of carefully restrained romance – and possibly the end of civilisation as we know it.

It’s obvious from the outset that Benju wants to get back together with Angie. This is bad timing. She has had a tough day at work, so irritated by the obnoxious right wing talk show host on her radio station that she did something which she may regret when the rent next comes due. There’s a lot she misses about their relationship – not least the cat, Henrietta – but all this talk of recurring dreams and mysterious thugs who quote Brecht is clearly not making a good impression. As for Benju, he’s torn between desperately wanting to convince her that the world is in peril and just wanting to make her like him again, which inspires him to add contradictions and half truths to the melange.

Mostly presented in black and white, the film sparks into colour at times, inviting viewers to make connections which may or may not be useful. It plays a similar game with audio, often sans soundtrack, occasionally delivering bursts of Wagner which may or may not be as full of portent as they sound. Meanwhile, abstract animation flickers into life between scenes and sometimes intrudes on them. At least some of this is conveying useful information but you will have to let it soak in before you begin to understand it, and through that process Leblanc is able to illustrate just how vulnerable we all are in this dizzying new informational landscape.

Confused? You will be. But you’ll end up laughing, albeit darkly.

Reviewed on: 17 Jul 2022
Share this with others on...
Les Pas D'Allure packshot
When a man arrives at his former girlfriend's home to tell her he has just escaped from a kidnapper, it's the beginning of a long, rambling, comical story which just might hint at something serious.

Director: Alexandre Leblanc

Writer: Alexandre Leblanc, Julien Grégoire

Starring: Jean-Sébastien Courchesne, Sophie Desmarais, Benoit Bourbonnais, Annie St-Pierre, Richard Fréchette, Yvan Fontaine

Year: 2022

Runtime: 83 minutes

Country: Canada


Fantasia 2022

Search database: