Film Eight: Polytechnique (2009)

Polytechnique (2009), is an incredible film based on the true events of the 1989 massacre in the Polytechnic University in Montreal, where an unstable misogynist murdered several female engineering students.

After Arrival (2016), I’ve adored the work of Denis Villeneuve and, like many of his other works, Polytechnique was created with skill and without fanfare. Despite its heavy themes and storyline, the visualisation was incredibly captured and stayed relatively true to the events.

Shot by Pierre Gill, and in black and white, the film used all of it’s unsettling angles, shots, and long takes to it’s advantage without placing an overbearing virtuosity to the film. From the first scene, the audience is pulled into the storyline by the collar. The absence of large amounts of dialogue and music allows for an uninterrupted glimpse into the horrific events that took place.

Along with the skill and precision that was involved in the film, I can’t help but mention the touching reverence in which the film’s foundations were handled with. The film was screened for the family members of the victims before being released, along with directorial decisions of not mentioning or crediting the name of the perpetrator, and choosing to release the film in black and white to avoid the presence of blood.

Polytechnique neither tries to make a statement nor offers any kind of redemption but simply offers an insight of what happened on December 6, 1989. It presents a man who lost his way in life & blamed women for all his miseries and yet never really judges him, for the judgment part is left to viewers themselves & in that aspect, it’s sure to divide its audience.”

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