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Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person

1h 30m Canadian, Cult, Directed by Women, First Feature, Romance, Québecois 2023

Quebec filmmaker Ariane Louis-Seize's debut feature about a young Montreal bloodsucker who can only feed on people for whom she feels sympathy.

Quebec filmmaker Ariane Louis-Seize — whose sultry, stylish coming-of-age study Les petites vagues was named one of Canada’s Top Ten shorts in 2018 — graduates to features with this deadpan horror comedy about a young Montreal bloodsucker who can only feed on people for whom she feels sympathy.

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Sasha (Sara Montpetit) is a teenage vampire — well, “teenage” is relative in their world — with an empathy problem. Unlike the rest of her clan, Sasha’s fangs don’t come out when she’s hungry or sensing fear; she needs to feel a personal connection to her prey. And then Sasha meets Paul (Félix-Antoine Bénard), an actual teenager convinced he’ll never enjoy anything in life. She befriends him, introduces him to her world and its secrets, and he happily volunteers to be her next meal. Which would be great, except for the whole empathy thing.

Right from their pitch-perfect prologue, Louis-Seize and co-writer Christine Doyon place us in a heightened genre world that nods in the direction of stylists like Tim Burton and Wes Anderson — Sasha has definitely seen a few of their movies — but with its own distinctive heartbeat, populated by distinctive Quebecois faces like Funkytown’s Sophie Cadieux and Steve Laplante and Marie Brassard, both of Viking (TIFF ’22).

The real charmers, of course, are the youngsters at the centre of this story — especially Montpetit, whom Festival audiences may be shocked to realize is the same young woman who starred in Maria Chapdelaine (TIFF ’21) and Falcon Lake (TIFF ’22). But that’s part of the fun.

NORM WILNER

Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival

Content advisory: themes of suicide; mature themes, violence

Language

French

Subtitles

English

Country

Canada