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also known as Vic+Flo ont vu un ours

Vic+Flo Saw a Bear2013

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  • 3.2
  • passes the bechdel test
A lonely bus stop, a trumpet-playing scout and a woman who refuses to pay him anything for his off-tune performance. This dryly humorous opening sets the tone for rest of the film which tells the story of Vic, a woman who has just been released from prison and who is on the hunt for some peace and quiet. She moves into a relative’s house in the Canadian forest and receives a visit from her lover, Flo. The two of them take each day as it comes, exploring the countryside in a golf cart and enjoying the scenery. Life could be so wonderful, if only Vic’s rather unconventional probation officer wouldn’t keep turning up. Vic also finds her girlfriend’s sorties to local bars unsettling. A friendly woman in the neighbourhood, a gardener, soon turns out to be a shadow from the past; signs of impending threat begin to multiply and even the forest seems to have treacherous traps in store. With his film’s collection of eccentric characters, his bizarre directing ideas and the work’s mysterious atmosphere, film critic and documentary/drama director Denis Côté creates an artificial world with its own completely unpredictable reality.



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" ominous, claustrophobic, unhappily sapphic work whose thunderclap of a climax instills terror and awe of the fates' petty, whimsical cruelties." - Inkoo Kang, Village Voice

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Member Reviews (7)

top reviewer

Denis Côte's film starts in one place and takes the viewer to an altogether unexpected place. This movie and its maker are not interested in genre or plot. The intention here is to capture emotions. The use of music is key here. Not for all tastes, but for those who enjoy entertainment with a dose of menace and oddly poetic surrealism -- this film might just be the ticket.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

didn't catch the magic

top reviewer

Vic + Flo Saw A Bear is a cool little Québécois film by Denis Côté – not to be mistaken with Denis Villeneuve, who is most people’s go-to Canadian director lately even though we’re not big fans of what we’ve seen of his work here at DtHL. Anyway, it’s a queer flick about two ex-convicts who move into a woodsy area and deal with the fun of togetherness. Exciting things like gardening, spousal arguments, taking care of an elder relative, dealing with a parole officer, having sex with strangers, and, most typical of all couple activities, getting harassed by other criminals who crave vengeance for past events. While the bulk of Vic + Flo takes its sweet time to move along, both Pierrette Robitaille and Romane Bohringer’s performances quiet and to the point, Côté smartly delivers his punches with a rather tough and unexpected final act.

Bitterness and dark comedy run rampant throughout it and what little sweetness there is in its depiction of a strained relationship is immediately combated by the low points of moving in together. One of the more interesting aspects of that is the way it deals with its sexual politics, never once shaming Flo for her decision to explore her sexuality outside of her relationship with Vic, even though the panic of cheating and being left alone are clearly shown in multiple scenes with Vic. Outside of that, I’d just like to mention that Bohringer should play Charlotte Gainsbourg’s sister someday and Marc-André Grondin looks as attractive as ever (a long way and look away from his C.R.A.Z.Y. aesthetic) and should call me up immediately.

top reviewer

Meditation and inertia. I hate this kind of direction, where torpidity is mistaken for catharsis.

Fabulous film about women living in a patriarchal society with a good dose of allegory.

i was thrilled to be watching a film whose protagonists were ordinary middle aged women the renderings of which were unsentimental and raw.

but ultimately the film was disempowering and regressive--can't say why without giving away the ending.

very disappointingly like most other mainstream fare despite the fact that the two lead characters were women instead of men. i felt that the filmmaker simply plopped two women into a commonplace male narrative of revenge and competition--and then also added the customary mainstream erasure of the woman--or in this case women, a doubly depressing outcome. additionally, there were weird racial reversals/inversions which were also off the mark in the same way.

the edgy, raw, home grown packaging was promising, but the symbolic content still the same old white bread. we'll have to wait a little longer for the real deal.

It lack a lot of the entertainment value that I seek in a movie. I would give it an average rating!