An intoxicating amalgam of Amelie’s fantasticism and Cronenberg’s fetishism, Zoé Wittock’s Jumbo is a glorious testament to the fact that love is strange.
On this occasion, it’s Jeanne (Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s Noémie Merlant) who’s thrown headlong into infatuation. And for anyone who’s ever described a fledgling romance as a "roller coaster ride", socially awkward Jeanne can do you one better: she’s fallen for Jumbo, the newest tilt-a-whirl at the amusement park where she works. Basking in Jumbo’s kaleidoscopic lights and curling up in "his" hydraulics, she’s never felt so at ease. However, others, including her mother (Emmanuelle Bercot), take a dim view of their courtship.
Every bit as committed to her beguilingly weird scenario as Jeanne is to Jumbo, Wittock doesn’t so much play things straight as transcendent. The exhilaration that Merlant conveys is infectious and you can’t help but pull for these star-crossed lovers. Likewise, you can’t look away when Wittock bombastically stages one of the more surreal sexual fantasies to grace a screen in some time.
Noémie Merlant, Emmanuelle Bercot, Sam Louwyck
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Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.