Boris Without Béatrice Screen 6 articles

Boris Without Béatrice

2016

Boris Without Béatrice Poster
  • Even members of the One Percent may feel frozen out by “Boris Without Beatrice,” a brittle, no-joke comedy of unchecked privilege that maintains the tone of social satire without ever alighting on a specific target. Less funny than it is breezy — with the zephyr that runs through it a consistently cold one — Quebecois auteur Denis Cote’s typically classification-resistant new oddity asks for more psychological engagement than most auds will be willing to offer.

  • Denis Côté hasn’t lost his penchant for symmetry and the perfect frame, so Boris without Béatrice looks, as we’d expect, terrific. But while it isn’t nearly as silly as Midnight Special, it leans that way, almost to the breaking point. If we’re being generous, we’ll call it “playful,” albeit far less successfully so than Vic + Flo Saw a Bear (2013), which also premiered in the Berlinale’s Competition.

  • The narrative runs through these steps in a mechanic fashion, and their execution isn’t particularly evocative or revelatory. Much like the film’s clinical cinematography, which is dominated by consistently striking yet lifeless tableaux, Côté’s theorem is closed in on itself, failing to produce interesting results. In fact, the film’s bourgeois critique ultimately develops into an endorsement of very bourgeois values.

  • Never mind that Beatrice is powerful and attractive in her own right, a member of the cabinet who's visited by the prime minister (Bruce La Bruce). What she truly needs is for Boris to keep his dick in his pants and come home earlier each day. With her sensually ethereal movements, which complement Hyndman's poetry of smugness, Girard almost sells this retrograde nonsense, though one awaits a punchline to upend the gender clichés that never arrives.

  • This might not be the most exciting way update the mythic cycle of taboo, frustration, and cosmic jurisprudence; the story of Tantalus’ punishment, which gets recited here, is a shockingly exaggerated allegory of guilt, the king left eternally unfulfilled by his crime.

  • Beautiful to look at, the film showcases Côté’s talents at building tone and theme through images and sounds. Not as relatable as his previous films, Boris sans Béatrice challenges rather than caters to audience preconceptions – for better and for worse.

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