Vanguard: Carcasses

Indie visionary creates uber-strange junkyard wonder

• Writer/director: Denis Côté
• Producers: Stéphanie Morissette, Sylvain Corbeil, Denis Côté
• Production company: Nihilproductions
• Key cast: Jean-Paul Colmor
• Distributor: FunFilm Distribution (Canada)
• International sales: Visit Films
• Budget: $60,000

Montreal-based filmmaker Denis Côté pushes boundaries once again with his latest no-budget experimental feature Carcasses.

This film is bound to raise eyebrows, as Côté depicts, in quasi-documentary style, a man working in a junkyard in rural Quebec whose life is altered when four Down syndrome youth show up.

Shot digitally, it’s another brazen statement by Côté, who has received accolades for keeping a defiantly independent spirit alive in an increasingly commercial Quebec cinema. But don’t tell Côté that – he says he’s ‘not comfortable’ with the notion that his film makes a statement.

‘A film should not absolutely say something or deliver a message. Carcasses is a free poetic exercise. I tried getting at the soul of a place. I tried to merge documentary and fiction. In the beginning, Carcasses was supposed to be a sort of hybrid fairy tale about friendship. For me, the junkyard is a place where all outcasts of the world can live and rejoice outside of the rules of our so-called society. The result on screen is much more enigmatic than that, but that was my point of departure.’

Côté received no funding from Telefilm Canada or SODEC, but he made Carcasses with $60,000 he received from the Canada Council for the Arts. The film is part of a residence project initiated by Les productions et réalisations indépendantes de Montréal.

Matthew Hays is a programmer in the Canadian features section of TIFF.