Sonatine

This second feature by actress (The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz) turned director (The Handyman) Micheline Lanctot finds some strikingly original things to do with a standard disaffected-youth story line. The first section of the film presents, in a dark, wordless, elliptical style, a teenage girl's infatuation with the bus driver who takes her home from her weekly psychiatric sessions; section two, moving into dialogue and extended takes, introduces another girl, who tries to stow away on a Bulgarian cargo ship but is discovered by the sailor on watch. In the final episode, we discover that the two girls are friends, and watch as they descend into the brightly lit Montreal subway system with the intention of killing themselves. The preachiness built into the plot doesn't surface until the final 30 minutes, and even then it is tempered by Lanctot's cool, understated direction; the balance of the film is subjective, moody, and quite affecting.

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