La face cachée de la lune

Philippe is a fortysomething perpetual daydreamer who works in a telemarketing center for Le Soleil while he finishes a doctorate thesis on how the race to the Moon between the Russians and the Americans in the ‘60s was mostly a spectacular act of narcissism on mankind’s part. Further spacing him out is the shooting of a video-diary intended to be sent through the cosmos, in hope of reaching extra-terrestrial beings… Anything to make him forget about his dull little life, basically.

Meanwhile, Philippe’s younger brother André seems happy enough, working as a TV weatherman and living in a bourgeois Québec City neighbourhood with his boyfriend. They’ve very different and not particularly interested in each other, but when their mother (portrayed in flashbacks by the always wonderful Anne-Marie Cadieux) passes away, Philippe figures it’s as good a time as any to try and improve their relationship.

“La face cachée de la lune” is an adaptation of Robert Lepage’s one-man show of the same name. Here he plays both brothers and uses the possibilities of cinema to the fullest to express what was conveyed on stage only through words and a few cleverly use props. Like all his films, Lepage’s latest is exquisitely designed and directed, with endlessly interesting shot composition and transitions. But where some of his previous work could be too cold and pretentious, “La face cachée de la lune” is an obviously personal, deeply felt story that’s alternately touching and bitingly funny, with poetic use of special effects.