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 ...
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Alejandro, a resourceful street orphan on the verge of adolescence, lives and works in an auto-body repair shop in a sprawling junkyard on the outskirts of Queens, New York. In this chaotic world of adults, Alejandro struggles to make a better life for himself and his sixteen-year-old sister.
Set in a dreary urban landscape of Edmonton, LOVE AND HUMAN REMAINS is a dark comedy about a group of twentysomethings looking for love and meaning in the '90s. The film focuses on ... See full summary »
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>
Laboriously Strange and Unique: You Might Hate it at first, but it Grows on You
One thing I'll say about Leolo is that you definitely won't forget it. Thankfully, though, and quite necessarily, I'm not limited to that single sentence. Love it or hate it, this is an experience that will stick with you, and which over time will most likely come up on the positive side of your filmgoing experiences. The film's protagonist, Leolo Lauzon, is a young French Canadian boy who claims to be a son of Italy, a notion he accredits to a miraculous encounter between his mother and a tomato grown in Italy. He is the youngest in his family, and at that stage in his life, he is also the most sane. In his spare time, he escapes the daily dysfunction of growing up by writing eloquently on scraps of paper, which he then discards, and which are then read by a local homeless man: the texts serve as the film's narration. Though essentially a story about growing up, this is a film that can be read from many angles, and whose thematic depths span everywhere between the themes of family, fear, hate, lust, and love. Yet, in spite of its broadness, the film manages to be simultaneously and paradoxically intimate, epic, far-fetched, and spot-on.
I watched this movie under the pretext that it was either THE best, or at least ONE of the best Canadian films ever made, and so my expectations were quite high. The other film that holds claim to this distinction is called "Mon Oncle Antoine," directed by Claude Jutra, and which I highly recommend. That film is the type you can watch and reflect on with an immediate love that will never wane over the passage of time. Leolo, on the other hand, is like a scape on the knee: at first it's painful and unpleasant, but soon it builds and forms into a scab that you find satisfying to pick. Excuse the obscurity of that analogy, but if you watch the film I think you'll find that it applies quite nicely.
Some might find Leolo alienating, others revolting, and some just plane weird. Personally, I recommend that you turn off your internal "parental discretion" metre, and just watch this film for what it is, which at times is the most visceral, human, and beautifully shot films you are likely to witness. In terms of cinematic indulgence, it might have a few equals, but there are none that do it better. Initially, I rated this movie a 4/10, feeling as though it was terribly overrated, but you know what? It grew on me. I find that on a fairly regular basis, this movie and particular scenes enter my mind, and they do so for all the right reasons. I find this odd, as many of the movies I claim to love do not do this very same thing, which I think says a lot about the substance and strength of this film. It tells me that the moments that might be considered exploitive or overly-explicit, and maybe even illegal, are there for more than mere shock. In closing, I simply have to implore you to watch this film, and though you may rue the experience the first time, take my word for it that you won't regret it, though that might take a few weeks.
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