• Programmable

VÉTÉRANE

Directed by Director Pier-Philippe Chevigny

REVIEW BY RYAN McDONALD (PRINDIE Programming Director)


Director Pier-Philippe Chevigny has the rare gift of balancing narratives of social complexity with melodrama well. Far too often when I’m watching submissions, I come across a film with a great message, but resign to the fact that I don’t believe the performances, and have to move on. With Chevigny’s work that never happens. Everyone says great acting comes from the casting process, and to a degree I’m willing to accept that, but then why don’t more top-tier short films have great performances when all of them have a casting process? I would venture to say that is because not all of them have great directors. There are splashes of the Maysles brothers’ cinema-direct or cinéma verité in Vétérane, that makes me feel as though I shouldn’t be in the room watching these private moments even though they are fictionalized. As for Chevigny’s characters, he approaches them with a similar sensibility to the Safdie brothers - a brutal realism that pushes me farther into the cushions of the couch. Whether conscious or unconscious of these comparisons, it is least important because Chevigny’s greatest gifts are to carefully unfold the social dilemma that parallels the film in modern life, while also keeping his audience breathless with dramatic tension.



Vétérane, profiles aging escort, Camélia, played to perfection by prolific actress Sandrine Bisson.[1] Chevigny examines ageism and despair in an industry that rarely gets its due. Much of what transpires is Camélia in conflict with an ambiguous past, knowing her opportunities are dwindling and being on the back-leg of a career that looks for youth above all else. Last year’s festival found Chevigny’s Rebel taking home PRINDIE’s Audience Award.[2] We are pleased to present another fine effort by a director who’s in the process of developing his first feature-length film, Richelieu (developed at the TIFF Filmmaker Lab and selected both at the prestigious Berlinale Co-Production Market and at the Los Cabos’ GFFF Market).[3]



Now that I write this, maybe it’s truer to say Chevigny haunts his audience. He stimulates the imagination of his viewership in a way that once Veterane concludes, one continually projects all variable outcomes in their mind. Simply put, he makes you care.


WATCH VÉTÉRANE NOW

[1] https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0084368/ [2] https://www.prindiefest.com/2020-winners [3] https://medium.com/authority-magazine/filmmakers-making-a-social-impact-why-how-filmmaker-pier-philippe-chevigny-is-helping-to-change-ae00550f564b



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