Film Production Professor Antoine Bourges’ “Fail to Appear” and “Downtown Eastside” trilogy streaming on Cinematheque Online



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Fail to Appear. Canada 2017. Antoine Bourges

Modern Construction: An MDFF Retrospective:

Fail to Appear

Canada 2017
Antoine Bourges
70 minutes
https://thecinematheque.ca/films/2021/fail-to-appear

March 5 (Friday) through April 1 (Thursday)

“An elegantly unembellished style that verges on the Bressonian.” Art of the Real 2018, Film at Lincoln Center

Canadian new wave fixture Deragh Campbell (Anne at 13,000 ftNever Eat Alone) shines as an inexperienced Toronto caseworker navigating an arduous and impersonal mental-health system in writer-director Antoine Bourges’s understated, formally austere debut feature. Still acclimating to her new job, Isolde (Campbell) is assigned to a despondent, middle-aged man (Nathan Roder) awaiting a court hearing for petty theft. As Isolde grapples with inadequate resources, bureaucratic protocols, and professional insecurity, she struggles to foster a trusting bond with her client. Bourges, returning to the front lines of social safety net services previously explored in his Downtown Eastside trilogy, frames the quiet drama in measured, uninterrupted, mostly static shots. Campbell impresses with a remarkably lived-in performance; chief MDFF cinematographer Nikolay Michaylov lenses.

“Campbell is a naturalistic revelation.” Marsha Lederman, Globe and Mail

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East Hastings Pharmacy. Canada 2017. Antoine Bourges

The Downtown Eastside Trilogy

Antoine Bourges
73 minutes
https://thecinematheque.ca/films/2021/the-downtown-eastside-trilogy

March 5 (Friday) through April 1 (Thursday)

“Formally rigorous and, given its clinical subject matter, surprisingly moving.” Norman Wilner, Now Magazine, on East Hastings Pharmacy

East Hastings Pharmacy

Canada 2012
Antoine Bourges
46 min.

“Simultaneously a fictionalization, a reconstruction, and a documentation” (Cinema Scope), Antoine Bourges’s trompe l’oeil treatment of the rites and routines of methadone patients receiving their medication in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside employs real-life patients  “playing themselves,” a pharmacist portrayed by a professional actor (Shauna Hansen), and a set recreating an actual East Hastings pharmacy. This unique hybrid work, the centrepiece of Bourges’s DTES trilogy (which also includes the two shorts screening in this program), shows the influence of Jeff Wall’s photographic staging techniques of  “near documentary” and asserts the beguiling power of verisimilitude in how we negotiate documentary  “truth.” Recipient of the Colin Low Award at DOXA 2012 and top prize at Kasseler Dokfest, Germany.

Woman Waiting

Canada 2010
Antoine Bourges
15 min.

An impoverished, middle-aged woman awaits the next steps in a social housing application in Antoine Bourges’s Beckettian MDFF debut, filmed in Vancouver in 2010. Selected for TIFF, Berlinale, and SXSW.

William in White Shirt

Canada 2015
Antoine Bourges
12 min.

William, a young man living in Vancouver’s depressed Downtown Eastside, makes arrangements with his caseworker to visit his son in this sobering, B&W slice of social realism.

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Visit Film Production Professor Antoine Bourges