Maelström is a film, directed by Denis Villeneuve
, which is presented in the style of an opera
, which follows an absurd love story
, and is recounted by a supernatural
It follows the life of Bibiane Champagne, a young urban professional from Montréal, who at 25 is confronted with insurmountable problems at work, with her brother, and with control over her own emotional life.
The first scene is of Bibi undergoing an abortion, and the preceeding 45 minutes is of her dealing with the demands of her body, her work, her brother, all through the therapy of her friend Claire. This part is quite heavy.
Bibi seeks escape, always attempting to wash away her problems. There is so much water, so much black and green and blue in the film. So remniscent of plants in water, of fish in water. There are so many fish!
There are fish all over the road, fish in the factories, fish in the restaurant, the car smells of fish...
For location shots, 85% took place in the city of Montréal, and the footage of Norway was actually Baie-Comeau, Québec in November.
Denis Villeneuve had a budget of 3½ million dollars for Maelström, which was his second film, and it won five Genie awards; best picture, best screenplay, best cinematography, best director and best actress.
It was also selected as Canada's official entry in the race for best foreign-language film at the Oscars.
It was screened at the Montreal World Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. Myself, I saw it at ciné-campus.
Marie-Josée Croze as Bibiane
Jean-Nicholas Verrault as Evian
Stéphanie Morgenstern as Claire Gunderson
Also, the word maelström refers to a huge whirlpool, the likes of which are found only in oceans. It has since been adopted to refer to any situation which is chaotic, disturbing, and violent.
It comes from the Dutch words "malen", which means "to grind", and "stroom", which means "stream".