Robert Lepage

Robert Lepage

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Stardom Review


Weak
Nothing could better use a solid send-up than the beyond egomaniacal fashion model "industry," a self-obsessed, navel-gazing enterprise of nonsensical characters if ever there has been one. French Canadian director Denys Arcand (best known for Jesus of Montreal) has created some biting social commentaries in the past, but Stardom is far from a masterpiece.

Stardom tells the story of an unknown female hockey player named Tina (Jessica Paré) who finds celebrity in the modeling biz when a happenstance candid photo of her on the ice becomes all the rage. Soon enough she's an up-and-comer in Montreal, jetting off to Europe for photo shoots and parties, and indulging in the usual trappings of the supermodel race.

Continue reading: Stardom Review

Jesus Of Montreal Review


Weak
Father Leclerc (Gilles Pelletier), a forward-thinking priest at a diocese in Montreal, feels that his church's passion play has become tired. In the interest of reinvigorating it, he hires an impassioned, method-like actor named Daniel (Lothaire Bluteau) to shake things up a bit, and Daniel in turn assembles a cast of four others from among his friends and acquaintances. Together - the five quickly become thick as thieves, many of them sharing a cramped apartment - these new apostles re-imagine the Passion, drawing heavily on scientific and sociological, as well as ecclesiastical, sources, and the play becomes a citywide hit. But Father Leclerc now has reservations; haven't the young actors opened up the story of the Passion too radically? Under pressure from his superiors, he cancels the show. Meanwhile the cast members are changing, too; for instance, Mireille (Catherine Wilkening), who previously was doing commercials that emphasized her admittedly terrific ass, realizes that she was only being used, and through Daniel she has begun to realize her potential as a person. The actors all come to feel deeply committed to their creation, in some cases giving up their previous lives to spread the word. Daniel, who of course portrays Jesus, begins to feel that he is in fact undergoing persecution at the hands of the church. And why? His message, which he is anxious for everyone to hear, is after all a peaceful one...

Made in 1989 by French Canadian director Denys Arcand (The Barbarian Invasions), Jesus of Montreal was much honored at the time of its release, receiving the jurors' prize at Cannes and an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film. It's easy to see why. The premise - that a group of young, unconventional actors find themselves at odds with the established church when they investigate Christ's teachings - is a whopper, and Arcand pulls if off with some finesse; he never preaches and he refuses easy ironies. Jesus of Montreal delivers no facile moral lesson, but it never descends into simple church-bashing either. It is, rather, a little bit of both worlds; like The Barbarian Invasions, it's a social comedy, and it invites a little reflection, too.

Continue reading: Jesus Of Montreal Review

Stardom Review


Unbearable

The rise-and-fall of a fictional supermodel is the topic of "Stardom," an irritatingly over-conceptualized yet blandly under-realized documentary-style satire-drama.

Narrated to death by a parade of invariably obnoxious hairdressers, photographers, agents, talk show hosts and Much Music VJs (it takes place in Canada), it's the story of an 18-year-old knockout brunette (newcomer Jessica Paré) spotted by a sports photographer while playing hockey and rapidly whisked into a pampered, jet-setting lifestyle.

Half mocumentary and half an insincere, tisk-tisk condemnation of beauty as a commodity and a social currency, the picture is a ripe idea corrupted by its own self-satisfaction and made worthless by the fact that the girl at its axis is wildly uninteresting.

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Robert Lepage

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Robert LePage Movies

Stardom Movie Review

Stardom Movie Review

The rise-and-fall of a fictional supermodel is the topic of "Stardom," an irritatingly over-conceptualized yet...

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