Saints-Martyrs-des-Damnés Robin Aubert

Flavien Juste (François Chenier), a tabloid reporter, is sent with his photographer friend Armand (Patrice Robitaille) to a small town where people consistently disappear. Soon after they arrive and check into the creepy hotel run by two equally creepy sisters, Armand disappears. After an extensive search, Flavien returns to find there's no record of them ever having checked in. And so begins this surreal French Canadian mystery. Saints-Martyrs-des-Damnés contains some of the most original and startling images in recent Canadian film. Two lovers float through the streets as a teddy bear comes to life, and ethereal light is dragged down the screen as a man in a black hat commits a bloody crime. Sound contrived? It's not. And you'll see these sights, provided you can labour through the story. The first half of the film is confusing and not enough signifiers are used to tell us we're in some sort of dream state. David Lynch used a curtain in Blue Velvet and a pillow in Mulholland Drive. We assume we're in the land of realism because we haven't been told otherwise. Though an out of focus woman sings a lullaby as our protagonist wakes up in a car at the outset, these images could easily be reality and memory. And speaking of Mr. Lynch, his touches are everywhere. The first half of the film reeks of trying to be just like him, from the pompadour-red murderous locals all the way to a log town drinking establishment with a single female performer (Twin Peaks, anyone?). Want my advice? Surrender. Walk in knowing it won't make much sense on your first viewing. And once you're past the first half sit back and watch as the imagery becomes more incredible by the scene. (Max/Christal)