Review: A Montreal Girl
A Montreal Girl (Jeanne Crépeau) is a great big love letter to a changing city. Filmmaker Ariane (played wonderfully by Amélie Grenier) must leave the flat she has lived in for all of her adult life, and this film is as much about saying goodbye to that life as it is about saying goodbye to the apartment.
Her girlfriend lives in Paris, and is not very present in the film. In fact, the relationship Ariane has with her partner is dwarfed entirely by her relationship with the view from her window, a view the camera lingers over, in a way it lingers over little else. The central character in this film is not Ariane, but Montreal itself, in all its various seasons and shades.
As Ariane shows us the various storekeepers, businesses and people in her area, there is always a sense of the end of something – these businesses are changing hands, or are being frequented by new people, and the area Ariane is so in love with is changing around her. The refreshing thing about this film is that, unlike most other stories which are framed in this way, Ariane is not bitter about it. Yes, she would love to remain a part of the narrative, but when she shows us her surroundings, it is with a sense of pride, and genuine affection. And, in the end, she is not too bitter when she must leave.
This is a wonderful film, with an excellent cast. Her friends are well-rounded, even though many of them get very little screen time, we get a real sense of the community she is a part of. Her struggles, and how they help her with them, are genuinely relatable – this entire film is so low key, it’s very easy (and even more pleasant) to slip into the world it is showing you.
Perhaps it is the slight autobiographical tint that makes this the case. Crépeau is definitely showing us her Montreal; it is clear from the outset that this film is heavily based on real knowledge, and real experiences.
A Montreal Girl is an utterly charming little film, and perfect for passing a rainy afternoon. Its message may not be big, but its personality is, and it is a film which is guaranteed to make everyone smile with recognition at least once. I recommend.
A Montreal Girl is available on Busk films for less than a fiver.