As Cinéma Québecois continues to break barriers surrounding technique, acting, and teamwork, it also continues to remain ahead of the curve. We got the chance to watch Chien de Garde, which completely took us by storm as we rewatched it a multitude of times, because it was THAT good.
Chien de Garde tells the story of JP, who lives with brother Vincent, his mother and his girlfriend in a small apartment in Verdun.
Sophe Dupuis, who wrote and directed the movie, took a huge leap in showcasing true grit through her gaze, something people might be surprised to see nowadays, all with the Year of the Woman and other feminist-driven movements becoming more prevalent in 2018. She portrays the struggle of a family through mostly male driven characters, dealing with toxic relationships they can’t let go of.
This is the first feature film from Sophie Dupuis, hailing from Abitibi-Témiscamingue, who’s previously won awards for her short-film projects since 2008.
The story follows the main character JP, who is trying to get a balance between getting a degree as an electrician, his love life, family issues and working as a debt collector for his sketchy uncle who runs a drug cartel, which JP sees as some sort of father figure.
This is a story that a lot of people who live in areas like Verdun could easily relate to, especially in the way Sophie put it all together.
Sophie really wanted to explore Realism with this one, keeping it all focused on character-driven moments, portrayed by some of the best emerging actors coming from Quebec. The movie stars Jean-Simon Leduc, Théodore Pellerin, Maude Guérin, Claude Laberge, Paul Ahmarani and a first on-screen performance by the popular singer Marjo.
Although all the actors delivered quite meticulously, what really stood out was the brilliant performance by Théodore Pellerin who plays Vincent, a hyperactive, bi-polar and ADHD-driven individual who looks up to his older brother the most.
Théodore was able to portray a mixture of moods all in one scene, being funny, at times obnoxious, mean and violent, all while keeping a subtle sense of constant struggle. Something that isn’t easy to deliver so seamlessly on screen.
The depth of characters is astounding to say the least. We get to live vicariously through their daily struggles, all the while being able to deal with it through laughter and love, something we can all relate to.
The movie’s overall theme is gritty, gut-wrenching at times and explosive to say the least. Keeping you at the edge of your seat without one moment to spare to boredom. Sophie Dupuis was capable of tying everything together with light/relatable humour and the amazing soundtrack and mixing that is still resonating, even after the credits were rolling.
You cannot get more real than this.
Chien de Garde is a true breakthrough for Cinema Quebecois, at least for us.
The movie opens in theatres on Friday, March 9, and we highly recommend it.
A Bravo Charlie production.
Images couresy of : Babas Levrai