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Léolo Returns to Cannes
By Staff

Lélolo, production still;
(May 1, 2014 – Montréal, Québec) It is considered a classic of Québec cinema and will always be linked to the tragic story of its highly talented director, yet like many if not most Canadian films, Léolo is largely unknown beyond its provincial borders. Twenty-two years ago it screened in competition for the Palme d’Or at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. This year it has been invited back to screen as part of the Cannes Classics programme.

Told from Léolo`s point of view, this film, set in Montréal, explores the title character`s attempt to deal with a family seemingly gone mad. It is as if he is the only sane person on the screen. His brother, for example, responds to being beaten up by becoming almost addicted to growth hormone in an attempt to gain some muscle and his grand dad brings in half-naked girls to bite off his toenails. He also, in a brutal rage, nearly kills Léolo. It is natural in life, as in this movie, that people in these situations retreat into themselves and Léolo builds a fantasy world he can escape into. But, even here there is a surreal mayhem captured and created by director and screenwriter, Jean Claude Lauzon. The film won a Genie Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Often considered the enfant terrible of Québec cinema, Lauzon`s career was cut short when he died in a plane crash in 1997. He was just 46.

Considered one as Canadian cinema’s seminal films, Léolo has been digitized and restored by Éléphant, a major philanthropic initiative by Québecor that restores and archives Quebec movies and makes them accessible to the public via illico and iTunes. The project, when complete, will be the largest existing online database and information source on Québec cinema. Since its launch in 2008, more than 200 fiction films have been added.

Léolo joins films by David Cronenberg, Xavier Dolan and Atom Egoyan at Cannes this year.