116 minutes – Drama
Release date: 1987
US release date: March 30, 1988 (New York)
It is hard to imagine a more auspicious debut for a director. Un zoo la nuit won a record 13 Genie Awards including Best Picture. Jean-Cluade Lauzon won both Director and Screenwriter honours. Un zoo la nuit, or Night Zoo as it was retitled in English, is a journey into the jungle of Montréal`s underworld. The human zoo with it`s captive wild life. The nights that never end. The city as lonely and untamed as any wilderness. . . and twice as threatening. Marcel is released from prison only to find his father dying, his girl-friend on the skids, and the crooked cops that put him in jail coming back for more. Slowly at first, but then with the desperation of a man gasping for air, Marcel attempts to sever his ties with the underworld once and for all. And begin a tender, sometimes painful reconciliation with his father–the father he never really knew. A visually stunning and somewhat pretentious film, even for a debut effort, some critics wrote at the time of its release that was ultimately too cliched and marred by its own moral ambivalence. However, to win 13 Genies must mean something and the film remains highly watchable. Look for director Denys Arcand as a customer in a sex-shop. He would also appear in Lauzon’s only other feature, Léolo.
The English version of the poster on the right is scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.