On 5.26 I noted that a clip from Xavier Dolan‘s Mommy, which will be shown within a 1:1 aspect ratio, seems closer to 1 to 1.2 or 1 to 1.3 — taller than wide. Ditto with this, the first official trailer. And yet if you tilt your head sideways it’s a perfectly square box. “It probably goes without saying that the popcorn-munchers are going to have a very slight problem with 1:1, like they’re being deprived on some level,” I wrote. “Many/most of us been conditioned to accept 1.37 as the official non-wide a.r. but the taller-than-wider illusion might (I say ‘might’) get in the way for some. Or strike them as visually precious.” Does Mommy have any kind of U.S. distribution deal? Not to my knowledge. (Pic will be distributed in Canada this September by eOne.) Honestly? If I was a distributor I wouldn’t touch Mommy with a ten-foot pole. The movie (or the portion I saw of it, about 70 minutes) is crazily original, but the aspect ratio is a killer. It’s too severe.
From my 5.22 Cannes Film Festival review: “The first 50 minutes were mute nostril agony. This was due to the hyper, grating, wild-dog personality of Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon), an intelligent but madly obnoxious, violence-prone 16 year-old whose hellbent behavior is the high-torque engine of the piece. His widowed, mouthy, floozy-ish, somewhat hyper mom Diane (Anne Dorval) is forced to take Steve into her home after a Canadian facility for temperamental problem kids has kicked him out for outrageously aggressive behavior.
“The two of them goad and argue and shove each other around, although Steve is much more belligerent and, in one scene, physically threatening to the point that the only solution, it seems, is to shoot him a tranquilizer dart, inject him with Thorazine and put him in a padded cell. Or just take him to a nearby zoo and throw him to the lions and be done with it.
“But once a high-school-teacher neighbor (Suzanne Clement) joins the party, the film mellows down somewhat before cranking up again. To my surprise it began to feel semi-tolerable and even redeeming in spurts. I was saying to myself there might be way out of this bedlam apart from the afore-mentioned remedies. I began to sense that the animal-froth element in Mommy had a scheme and perhaps even a rhyme. Dolan, who is presumably drawing from some aspect of his own teenage behavior, was working the controls and taming the lion. He’s upped his game, all right, and I’m now persuaded (resigned?) to seeing all of Mommy when I’m good and ready back in the States, but good God.”