MELOPEE (a.k.a. Plainsong) **** Canada 2019 Dir: Alexis Fortier-Gauthier. 18 mins
Three young people celebrate “Quebec Day” with a beach house vacation that highlights existing tensions and unfulfilled desires: Olivier (Antoine DesRochers) clearly fancies his mate’s girlfriend Diane (Rosalie Fortier) and, after an unpleasant encounter with patronising locals (verdict on the location : “no bears but many idiots”), Olivier’s confused state of mind is further thrown by a siren call from the ocean.
Prolific short filmmaker Alexis Fortier-Gauthier (PALLISADE, OF INK AND BLOOD) has made a carefully paced, haunting film with the beguiling, overriding sense of a presence that’s much bigger than all of us as the protagonists are lured in by something simultaneously beautiful and monstrous. The dialogue is sparse, but it’s sincerely acted and Rosalie Fortier’s excellent performance provides us with an unpatronising use of a deaf heroine within a story where sound is so important. Peter Venne’s evocative music score adds to the eerie coastal ambience of this mood piece – and when we do get a glimpse of the Lovecraftian monster, the modest visual effects also impress.
Review by Steven West