115 minutes – Drama
Language: French, English subtitles
Release date: September 6, 2002
DVD release date:
Canadian distributor: Alliance Atlantis
As La Turbulence des fluides opens, we are in Japan, a country that knows a lot about earthquakes. Here we meet Alice, played by Pascale Bussières, at work in a high-tech world far from the quiet life she left behind in Canada. Alice is a top French-Canadian seismologist, so when word comes of some very strange tidal activity in her hometown of Baie-Comeau, Quebec, it makes sense that she should be sent to investigate. It seems as if the tides have stopped rising and falling, and to the Japanese experts, the phenomenon signals a possible major, global earthquake. Once back home, Alice is confronted by numerous figures from her past and some unpleasant memories. She also has to deal with the unusual weather and inexplicable activities of some of the citizens. Of particular note is a superb performance from Geneviève Bujold playing a somewhat mysterious waitress, but look for the pack of decidely odd nuns, the eerie sleepwalking child and a women suddenly struck by lustful feelings. Along the way, Alice also runs into an old university pal who is now a seismologist as well and she meets a widower pilot who grows ever closer to Alice as the story unfolds.
While part of this film feels like one of those “you can never go home again” stories, there is far more at work here and it is all excellently told. The strangeness you feel watching this film is rooted in a fight between science and love. Are people acting strangely because the tides have stopped? Or have the tides stopped as some manifestation of so many human emotions suddenly at play? Also released in a subititled version for English audiences as Chaos and Desire, running at just under two hours, watching La Turbulence des fluides is well worth every minute.