Derriere Moi Rafaël Ouellet

Derriere Moi Rafaël Ouellet
Translating in English to "Behind Me," not "Bum Me" or "My Bum," as lovingly described by at least three people who saw it in my "to review" pile, the title seems to refer to the act of following a galvanizing personality both through insecurity and curiosity. The adherent in question, a 14-year-old Lea (Charlotte Legault), who lives in rural Quebec, finds intrigue when Betty (Carina Caputo), a worldly 23-year-old, rolls into town asking for cigarettes and talking of pelvic relations with famous musicians in Copenhagen. It isn't long before Betty has Lea trying smoking, then drinking, then pot and then more, despite Lea's inner-judgements and hesitations. While Betty's motivations for befriending a teenager seem initially to be the desire for adoration and ego, a slow building sense of unease makes it clear that there is more to their journey and motivations than a temporary connection and reckless youth. Deliberately slow, using limited edits and only natural lighting, the aesthetic of the film is much like the Dogme '95 movement and those radical French artistes before that. It's not a commercial vision, forcing viewers to engage entirely with character and story, as limited stylization and frequent stillness guide personal reflection, rather than message and opinion. Therefore, some audiences will feel lost and frustrated, claiming boredom with seeming slowness, while others will revel in the opportunity to examine the nature of female bonding, human insecurity and moral ambiguity. Either way, few will argue the impressive performances from both leads, in particular Charlotte Legault, who captures the naivety of youth perfectly via awkward interpretations of adult roles and fears of social rejection. The DVD includes another short film from Rafael Ouellet about two young women, which is high on stylization and low on budget. Also included is a minute-long "making of," some lame bloopers and a photo gallery, which are all French-only. (E1)