Like its 74-year-old subject, a compulsive amasser of unwanted cars and copious other junk, "Carcasses" is enjoyably eccentric -- at least in, uh, parts. Seemingly only half documentary, Quebecois director Denis Cote's fourth film shifts gears at the midpoint with the evidently contrived arrival on the collector's cluttered property of four young people with developmental disabilities. Whether or not Cote intends to suggest that, like the malfunctioning autos, these handicapped interlopers are carcasses of a sort, the film's lesser half doesn't achieve much beyond sketchy provocation. Fest play appears assured, but limited.

Like its 74-year-old subject, a compulsive amasser of unwanted cars and copious other junk, “Carcasses” is enjoyably eccentric — at least in, uh, parts. Seemingly only half documentary, Quebecois director Denis Cote’s fourth film shifts gears at the midpoint with the evidently contrived arrival on the collector’s cluttered property of four young people with developmental disabilities. Whether or not Cote intends to suggest that, like the malfunctioning autos, these handicapped interlopers are carcasses of a sort, the film’s lesser half doesn’t achieve much beyond sketchy provocation. Fest play appears assured, but limited.

Observing in quotidian detail the daily tinkerings of Saint-Amable-based Jean-Paul Colmor, whose literal tons of bric-a-brac constitute a veritable museum of North American cultural detritus, “Carcasses” departs from fly-on-the-wall portraits with carefully composed, often lovely shots that would’ve likely required the subject’s collaboration. Even before the additional layer of artifice is added, Cote’s close-up study of a working-class trade recalls (and pales beside) Lisandro Alonso’s 2001 hybrid docu “La libertad.” One of Cote’s own odd assemblages — snippets of Mahler symphonies and of an abrasive punk rock tune — accentuates the distinction between the film’s documentary and fictional portions.

Carcasses

Canada

Production

A FunFilm Distribution release of a Visit Films/Nihilproductions presentation. (International sales: Nihil, Montreal.) Produced by Sylvain Corbeil, Stephanie Morissette. Directed, written by Denis Cote.

Crew

Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Iljo Kotorencev; editor, Maime-Claude L'Ecuyer. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight), May 21, 2009. French dialogue. Running time: 73 MIN.

With

Jean-Paul Colmor, Etienne Grutman, Celia Leveillee-Marois, Charles-Elie Jacob, Mark Scanlon, Julie Rouviere, Anne Carrier.

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