Top positive review
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Touched by Genius this is a Beautiful film **10 Stars***
on October 20, 2004
Jean-Claude Lauzon was, no doubt, a troubled genius. I have seen Leolo many times and also the documentary about its director titled Lauzon Lauzon.
Leolo is a work of art. Lauzon attacked this project like a composer attacks a symphony. Its said that he played tapes of the musical scores for the producer, while standing over his shoulder and demanding that he read the script immediately.
Lauzon used music like a knife to make his points in some scenes. We hear the sacred tones of classical hymn while we see the gritty sometimes profane reality that Leolo lives in. There is Catholic symbolism and guilt oozing out of this film. The voice who speaks to us off an on throughout the film is excellent; through the voice of the archivist, of Leolo's
papers and deepest thoughts, we are allowed access to his psyche. The voice is also in English on the DVD.
Maxime Collin is an incredible young actor. He plays Leo who refuses to be a french Canadian boy from the poorest part of Montreal and instead he is Leolo's a white shirted Italian boy who lives for romance and beauty (oh yes and the Italian Countryside is beautiful). Our main charter repeats over and over, "I think therefore I am not". There is a lot here that Leolo would "not" want to be. Crazy for starters as his family home is a bit of an asylum.
If you're squeamish, steer away, there are gritty scenes here. Yes a cat gets defiled (among other things), but for the prudish reviewer who claimed he smashed his tape at this point, I really doubt that the cat was hurt. Kinda of like the horses didn't really die in Brave Heart, my friend! Look beyond the cat to the social statement that is being made about the boy who is involved. Remember his mother worries that he is smoking, but has no idea what she ought to be worrying
about. I won't say anymore, spoilers annoy me almost as much as Philistines who watch art film and then get all self-righteous about the gritty bits. (Hint, rent Disney instead, my friend)
This is an art film there is no other way to describe it. It is a comedy but it's a dark art comedy so don't buy it for a laugh out loud evening, there are some really heavy and troubling elements here that will leave you thinking afterwards.
The movie is beautifully filmed and well worth purchasing. I note that the DVD is only available through Amazon.ca, at the US site they are only selling the VHS. Buy the DVD, invite over a good friend, open some wine and enjoy the film and the long conversation that will follow it.