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Nelly

Canada 2016. Dir: Anne Émond. 101 min. DCP

The frankness and dramatic weight that writer-director Anne Émond (Nuit #1, Our Loved Ones) lends her stories is extraordinary. Her third feature, Nelly, is a creatively-imagined portrait of one of the most controversial writers in Quebec history. When Nelly Arcan (born Isabelle Fortier) published Putain (Whore), her debut novel, in 2001, it caused a sensation with its tale of prostitution based on Arcan’s own experience. But with success came crushing anxieties, all of which found their way into Arcan’s work. Émond’s onscreen Nelly is a composite of the writer’s many personas and fictional characters, brought to life in an astounding, kaleidoscopic performance by Mylène Mackay. As the film moves from one striking passage of Arcan’s oeuvre to the next, from elating highs to desperate lows, we are immersed in her lush and punishing world. — Magali Simard, TIFF

 

REVIEWS

"Plays with the lies and half-truths of the author’s life at the same time that it depicts her on the precipice of her own vulnerability."

The Globe and Mail | full review