Whistler Film Festival Day 11 – Remembering Mercy

The month-long virtual Whistler Film Festival now heads into Day 11 and features a new movie by Quebec legend Remy Girard, who is also doing a talent talk today online, along with a unique new Canadian prison movie, both of which are solid additions to the lineup. 

You Will Remember Me (Quebec, Director: Éric Tessier)

Based on a play by Francois Archambault, YOU WILL REMEMBER ME is one of the strongest movies from Quebec in this year’s lineup.  Filmmaker Eric Tessier has crafted a Giard plays Edouard, a celebrated professor who is battling dementia. This is naturally driving his family crazy, and in comes an unlikely hero in Berenice (Karelle Tremblay) who is asked to connect with him. Of course, Edouard thinks she is someone else connected to him, and a good portion of the movie is fascinating as we see an unlikely connection happening between the two. 

The movie of course works so well because of Remy Girard’s outstanding performance as the troubled professor trying to remember his past. Girard is probably best known for his work in the Oscar winning THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS and his work here is right up there with the Denys Arcand picture. That said, it also features a strong performance by young Karelle Tremblay (also at the festival here with DEATH OF A LADIES MAN, also now streaming) as Berenice, who initially is fed up with Edouard’s behavior and him thinking she is someone else, and she handles this all with realism. 

Rating: ***½ out of ****

Mercy (Canada, Director: Sam Flamont)

The opening of MERCY is a terrific curtain-raiser and possibly even a good topic of conversation; a young man named Finn (Logan Mainil) comes across a hurt deer in the middle of the road. He calls the cops and offers to shoot it and move it off the road. The dispatch on the other end tells him not to do so as it’s illegal AND he is on First Nations land. He shoots it anyways and gets six months in prison for what he thinks is doing the right thing. 

That alone would be a great idea for a short film, but MERCY has much more up its sleeve, including a very realistic drama that centers on a medium security. While Finn isn’t the greatest inmate in a medium security prison. His girlfriend decides to leave him and his parents can’t believe he is in this situation. But Finn moves on and he befriends M (Bryan Englund) and almost immediately makes an enemy in the tough Shawn (Shawn Koch) who is a fearful antagonist throughout the picture. Will this six month term be shortened, or will Finn snap and cause trouble? 

Director Sam Flamont frames all of this within the near-square 1.37:1 aspect ratio which also adds to the claustrophobia of this medium security prison. Mainil and Englund are pretty solid together in the forged friendship in the prison, and I also liked how it didn’t take the easy road out of that opening sequence where Finn thinks he’s doing the right thing, and he still ends up in this place. 

Rating: *** out of ****

Both YOU WILL REMEMBER ME and MERCY begin streaming on the Whistler Film Festival virtual screening site. Thanks to Jive PR for advance copies of both movies for review.

#WFF20 is here! Join in celebrating cinematic excellence with 97 fresh films, including 30 features and 67 shorts, premiering through December 20th and available to Canadian audiences online until December 31. Once you order a film, you have 24 hours to watch it. (We at Get Reel Movies recommend the TV streaming box Apple TV or even the Roku app, both of which I use to stream titles this year.) Plus, WFF has pledged to share net online proceeds on a 50/50 basis directly with the filmmakers or Canadian rights holders.

For more information, visit www.whistlerfilmfestival.com

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