Vic + Flo Saw a Bear

(Canada, 2013, 95 mins, DCP)
Cast Pierrette Robitaille, Romane Bohringer, Marc-André Grondin
PRODS Sylvain Corbeil, Stéphanie Morissette
SCR Denis Côté
CAM Ian Lagarde
ED Nicolas Roy
ART DIR Colombe Raby
MUS Melissa Lavergne
PROD CO La Maison de Prod / Metafilms
Guests in attendance.


Desire and revenge fuel Denis Côté’s entrancing tragicomedy about two ex-cons trying—and failing—to discover normalcy in the Quebec countryside. Holed up in an abandoned sugar shack, Victoria (Pierrette Robitaille) and her lover Florence (Romane Bohringer) garden and cruise around in a golf cart. However, the anxieties sown by an intrusive parole officer (Marc-André Grondin) escalate when it becomes apparent that a more malevolent presence lurks in the surrounding trees.

The discordant trumpet squawks that usher in the film set the tone for the off-key proceedings that follow. As always, Côté excels at casting the mundane in an unnatural light. Employing Melissa Lavergne’s rattling, percussive score to tremendous effect, he warns us that an assault is imminent. And yet, when it’s finally carried out, there’s no sense of catharsis. Rather, there’s only astonishment at the heinousness of the act and appreciation for the adroitness of Côté’s execution.

“The sumptuous 35mm cinematography is as gritty as its subject matter and Côté displays a very keen eye for mise-en-scène, constructing unobtrusive yet carefully composed shots that inject beauty even in the bleakest of scenarios. The film’s greatest accomplishment, however, is its characterizations… imbuing these women with depth and humanity that fully invests us in their relationship… Their fate’s vertiginous downward spiral ensnares the viewer, leading to an extraordinary dialectic finale that leaves one traumatized, uplifted and utterly breathless.”—Giovanni Marchini Camia, Film Comment

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