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Young Leo Lauzon is torn between two worlds - the squalid Montreal tenement that he inhabits with his severely dysfunctional (and largely insane) family, and the imaginative world that he constructs for himself through his writings, where he's Leolo Lozone, son of a Sicilian peasant (conceived in a bizarre act involving a tomato). And his experiences of growing up (especially his sexual development) affect his response to both these worlds... Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I saw GUMMO before LEOLO, which is why I'm calling this review GUMMO part 0.
And I have to say that what struck me first while watching LEOLO is the similarities between both films: a kid surrounded by crazy people. Cats being abused. Obsession with bodily functions, etc. GUMMO director Harmony Korine was probably "inspired" to do GUMMO after seeing LEOLO. With that said, I have to say I dislike LEOLO as much as GUMMO. Both films are intellectually phony. I didn't believe the characters and situations in LEOLO for one second. Yes, the late director might have said that LEOLO was inspired by events in his childhood but end result still feels/sounds hollow. Scenes of the kid writing in his journal while the crazy things happen around him made me laugh. The end result of the movie is like a narcissistic mobius strip: kid writing journal in his youth. As an adult, kid decides to make movie about him writing in his journal. On and on it goes.
The characters are (ugly) caricatures. None of the people inhabiting this film are real. Pure tokenism. Things aren't helped much by the fact that most of the "actors" can't act. Only the young kid (director) is shown to be normal or intelligent. Because of this, the film ends up being mean-spirited and self-indulgent. Just like GUMMO.
LEOLO and GUMMO would make a great double feature for masochists of phony cinema.
If you want to see a great Canadian movie about a kid and her dysfunctional family, watch LES BONS DEBARRAS instead. The Francis Mankiewicz film is filled with real poetic moments, amazing writing and excellent acting.
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