Directed by Denis Côté
Quebec filmmaker, Denis Côté’s latest film, QUE TA JOIE DEMEURE (Joy of Man’s Desiring) is simply mesmerizing. From the moment it opens, with a woman looking back over her shoulder, speaking to someone, supposedly, off camera, about getting to that place in a relationship where two people really trust each and can truly be themselves, the film is captivating. You want to know to whom she is speaking but that isn’t what Côté has brought you here for. He has a very different relationship in mind actually.
The mysterious woman disappears and from here, we get to work, or at least we get to watch people work, that is. Although the specific locations are never divulged, Côté takes us to a number of industrialized workplaces. Once we are there, we get to watch as the workers run through their daily routines. As machines of all shapes and sizes create a rhythmic soundtrack that propels the film forward, we watch as the workers partake in a number of mundane and repetitive tasks. As mind numbing as these acts must be for those who do them regularly, they are fascinating to watch here, thanks in great part to Jessica Lee Gagné’s (SARAH PREFERE LA COURSE) honest yet haunting cinematography and Nicolas Roy’s (VIC+FLO ONT BU UN OURS) superb editing work. It isn’t until fifteen minutes in that anyone speaks another word. By this point, you are so transfixed that the words almost seem an intrusion.
Côté exhibits great control of his craft with QUE TO JOIE DEMEURS. He also demonstrates a great respect for his audience and his subject by not passing judgment when he could so easily frame the film within a critical context. The monotony tends to get tedious near the end but for the most part, Côté allows beauty to blossom where one would expect to only find boredom.
04.26, 9:45 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
04.27, 7:30 PM, Scotiabank Theatre
05.03 7:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox