I haven’t offered anything on the big screen since then You sleep Nicoleeight years ago, Stéphane Lafleur was back in strength with viking. This unlikely sci-fi tragicomedy fits perfectly into the bizarre universe of the one from whom it imposed itself. Continental, a gun-free filmhis first feature film, and then refined his style thanks to On familiar land.
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Always favoring this empty, very ironic humor, the director ventures into one of the most difficult territories to explore, or where the deep humanity of individuals must be revealed through the most difficult and most absurd situations. This high-flying exercise, mastered from start to finish, makes this success even more dazzling.
Written in collaboration with Éric K. Boulianne (joke, Liar), the script is mainly built around the character of David, brilliantly played by Steve Laplante. The latter plays a physical education teacher we meet when he answers a series of questions as strange as they are surreal, as a result of which he will be recruited for a scientific mission. The one who has always dreamed of space will be part of a Quebec team recruited to serve as a mirror for a crew of American astronauts on a mission to the planet Mars.
For two years, David will retire from the world to confine himself to a bunker located on an empty lot in the American Midwest, along with four other acolytes. These five individuals were chosen because their psychological profile is in all respects identical to that of the astronauts who went for a walk on the red planet, even if they do not necessarily share the same sex. Once in office, the members of Team B must borrow the names of their alter ego (David becomes John and his colleague, played by Larissa Corriveau, becomes Steve) and put their whole being at the service of their mission. The goal is to anticipate on Earth the slightest interpersonal problems that could arise between members of Team A in space. And deal with them before they show up.
Even if, every morning, David receives a message from the real John who reveals the tenor of his daily mood, the earthly mission obviously will not be able to carry out as planned, the “doubles” not always succeeding in completely erasing their nature to marry that one. of another person.
At the limit of the human condition
Full of hints, especially a 2001, a space odysseyStanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, beautifully captured by director of photography Sara Mishara (drunk birds), viking thus explores the boundaries of the human condition, in particular the clash between existential ambitions and reality, but this film also addresses broader passing themes.
Between the lines, the story also evokes the cultural relationship between Quebec and a powerful neighbor like the United States. Not having the same resources as the science fiction productions produced south of our border, Stéphane Lafleur enjoys playing with this imbalance.
With a perfectly modulated tone from a formidable cast, which also includes Fabiola N. Aladin, Hamza Haq, Denis Houle, Marie Brassard and Martin-David Peters, viking will delight fans of Stéphane Lafleur’s cinema. As a fourth feature film, the director offers a completely original story, which reveals something of our humanity by eradicating the inherent humor that comes with it, sometimes even with poetry. It’s not that common.
viking is currently showing.
With Steve Laplante, Larissa Corriveau, Fabiola N. Aladdin