The Canadian Denis Côté (*1973), who lives in Montréal, is one of the most idiosyncratic directors of contemporary cinema. He made his first full-length film debut in 2005 and since then all his works have been greatly acclaimed at international festivals, receiving many awards. Since BESTIARE was screened at last year's Berlinale in the Forum section and his current film VIC+FLO ONT VU UN OURS won this year's Silver Bear, Denis Côté is no longer a stranger in Berlin. Arsenal's presentation of his seven full-length films (2005 - 2013) permits an evaluation of these two works in the contact of his oeuvre and a comprehensive appraisal of his particular style. We are especially pleased to welcome the director to Berlin thanks to the generous support of SODEC in Quebec. He will thus be here for the launch of BESTIARE by arsenal distribution on 25. April and he will also be teaching at the dffb during his stay.
Denis Côté's films cannot be pigeonholed. They are the expression of his creative experimentation with form and narrative, a play with genre. Apart from unusual combinations of documentary and fictive elements and of improvisation and composition, they are characterized by the use of genre motifs, from western to fantasy, from gangster to horror. A sense of latent disconcertedness gets the upper hand and the uncanny takes over. Loners, outsiders, oddballs are the focus. The puzzling and at times unsettling nature of the characters and the plots is not resolved. Côté maintains their mystery and the expectations of the viewer disappear into thin air with surprising changes and abrupt changes in the tone. Psychology is incidental and narrative context is often left open. As much as they are about people, their relationships and their loneliness, Côté's films are also about the places and landscapes in which they are set. These are all far from the city, on the outskirts, in rural provincial areas and - over and over again - in the forest.