Villeneuve is A-List

Denis Villeneuve

My favourite films this week:

Short – Next Floor

In Theatres – Prisoners

Narrative feature – Persona

Documentary – Party Monster

French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (above) is making waves from art-house to A-list director and steals the show for me this week. His 2010 foreign film, Incendies, was a real tour de force and he charted this remarkable success with the exhausting thriller Prisoners – his first movie to come out of Hollywood, no doubt the first of many. However, I want to go back to 2008 and share Denis’s astonishing cinematic vision with his short Next Floor my short film of the week.

I love a film that makes you question, “what the hell does it all mean?” Next Floor does precisely this. The film is tugged from genre to genre and discovers premises reminiscent of ritualistic assemblies, sinister proceedings, satirical buffoonery and even domestic horror.

A bizarre conspiracy is in act, and is apt to the sheer dumbfounding production design – you rarely see aptitude of this level in a short film. The cinematography is beautifully tolerable of the uneasy foundation making the subjects readily visible in the oddest of tones. The sound design is exquisitely on cue and boasts the luxurious banquet.

It’s a remarkable short and now available for free on Vimeo! Watch it below:

My theatrical film of the week irrefutably goes to Prisoners. Read my review here.


My feature film of the week is Persona, which ironically doesn’t have much of a narrative. Ingmar Bergman is at his best when he jesters the audience and expands the dimensions of the medium we expect – he is doing just that with Persona. He creates a film before our eyes that frustrates us, this frustration mirrors the plot of a maddened nurse who is trying get an unspoken actress to speak (she is mute).

I’m sure, from the title, you’ve configured that the two characters in the movie become one persona. The film is illusion and reality feeding off one another. Not to mention the “real” elements in the film where Bergman shows cameramen and light operators working in the background.

This film is great food for fought that will not let you down.


My documentary of the week, Party Monster (more of a fictional docudrama), traces the real story of the late 80s club kid Michael Alig. The kid came to be an underground legend of the New York club scene, but all this soon sent him wading through dark and twisted mannerisms eventually leading to excessive criminal activity.

The film is extreme in its portrayal of the events and is sharp in most areas. However, it left me feeling somewhat empty and sad, there was probably no other solution. Worth the time though.


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