Denis Villeneuve made his mark directing 20 short videos and winning first prize in the Canadian equivalent of the ABC's Race Around the World. August 32nd on Earth indicates his exceptional flair.
Villeneuve's film captures the existential crisis of post-crash trauma with precision and humour. Simone (Pascal Bussieres, Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, MIFF 1998) falls asleep at the wheel and careers off the road. Although she suffers no serious physical injuries, there are some psychological scars when mortality looms. She quits her job as a model/actress, cancels a planned trip to Italy and desperately phones her best friend, Philippe, to call in a rather unusual favour.
The remainder of the plot revolves around Simone's ill-conceived (pardon the pun) plan to have a child with Philippe as the father. Needless to say, he is a tad freaked by the idea, as is his girlfriend. Philippe acquiesces on the condition that consummation takes place in the middle ol the desert.
Villeneuve explores the space belween romantic love and profound friendship in a sefting of grand landscapes captured in a remarkably original fashion. Rich performances and clever scripting make this an emotional tour de force.