Tuesday, April 28, 2009


It's Tribeca Film Fest time in New York (or at least it was when I began this post) and Alison scored a couple of tickets to a show of our choice. We looked at the list and lazily chose the one that 'opens with a shot of a five-year-old using a typewriter to describe in great detail how he became blind at birth. The next scene is Antoine receiving a phone call from Madame Rouski, who dissolved into the water while taking a shower.' Okay, then.

We stopped at Shake Shack before the film and, to be honest, were about 3 seconds away from ditching the fest altogether for a drink at that bar that gives you plush red robes to wear on the garden roof while you sip martinis and stare at the Empire State Building from a comparable height. But we didn't. We went to the film. And thank goodness.

Antoine is a gorgeous little French Canadian film about a five year old boy with a big imagination and a director that lets it run. While the film reads as a documentary, it is in fact a work of fiction as the director cuts a flawless seam between real life and Antoine's imagination. He gets up, goes to school, plays in the gym, then is suddenly driving a car and solving mysteries via cell phone.

The director was there for a question and answer session apres la film (as was Antoine via Skype!) and told the story of how the film came about. She met Antoine at the school at which she worked and knew at once that there was a story there. But instead of telling the story is it is (Antoine is blind and has learned to see with his hands and ears and mouth) she told it as he sees it.

Antoine, therefore, melds school time and pretend time on his cell phone as only a child understands. Yes it is make-believe but it is also his life. It's really quite darling and really quite prolific.

The film is small, so small that you may in fact never see it. And a great shame that will be because Antoine is a character that will touch you deeply. He will make you smile and giggle and clutch your chest with happiness as he pronounces French philosophy in whispers. It's simply enjoyable film making.

Je te trouverais, Madame Rouski.
N'as pas de peur, si'l te plait.

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