C.R.A.Z.Y. Jean-Marc Vallée

Cleaning up at this year's Genies, winning ten out of 12 possible awards, in a year where Canadian cinema had its fair share of noteworthy films, C.R.A.Z.Y. is a remarkable movie about self-discovery that deserves every bit of praise it received. Told through the eyes of Zach Beaulieu (played from ages 15 to 21 by Marc-André Grondin), a unique, "blessed" boy growing up in a male-dominated Quebecois family during the '60s, '70s and '80s, the film's narrative is unconventional in its account of his struggle to accept who and what he is. From his birth where he's dropped on the floor to the constant reminders that he has a god-given gift to heal at the age of six to the sexual awakening and social escapism he seeks as a teen, Zach's journey is an absorbing journey, one that by the end takes you to places you'd never expect. The colourful cast of characters that Vallée and François Boulay have imagined bring a terrific contrast to the Beaulieu family, pitting Zach up against oppressive older brothers and a complex father (the film's most fascinating relationship) while creating a special spiritual bond with his understanding and doting mother. Vallée's use of music (the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Patsy Cline) transforms what could be dull moments into marvellous daydream sequences and establishes a whimsical connection to the story that helps set the film apart from typical coming of age stories. C.R.A.Z.Y. doesn't settle on simplicity — the relationships, the lead character and the message are all indeterminate — and yet, it's a film that's beautifully honest and magical in its illustration. The DVD's extras are all en Francais, so unless you speak the language of C.R.A.Z.Y., they will only frustrate you. (TVA)