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  Cycle index  
Polytechnique
dir. Denis Villeneuve / Canada 2009 / 77’
subtitles: Polish and English
Cinema of Canada

Cast

Maxim Gaudette, Sébastien Huberdeau, Karine Vanasse, Évelyne Brochu, Johanne-Marie Tremblay, Pierre-Yves Cardinal

Film description

On December 6, 1989, a 24 year-old man walked into a classroom at Montréal's École Polytechnique, separated 14 female engineering students from the rest of the class and gunned them down. His rampage was fuelled by a deep-seated hatred of ʽfeminists', revealed in his suicide note. Based on the testimony of those who survived this horrific moment, Polytechnique is a harrowing reconstruction of that fateful day. The film follows the atrocious event from the perspective of the killer, of a student, Valérie, who survives being shot, and her classmate who is sent out the room by the killer and who later feels tremendous guilt for not attempting to stop the assassin. Alternating perspectives and flashing forward and backward in time, the tautly constructed, mature, non-sensational, and sensitive, Villenueve's film is as honest as it is unsettling, and resists the temptation to explain or account for or explain the atrocity. Instead, it attempts to be a cinematic act of memory.

Tom McSorley

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