La rage de l’ange [Angel’s Rage] (2006)

<strong class="MovieTitle">La rage de l’ange</strong> [<strong class="MovieTitle">Angel’s Rage</strong>] (2006)

(In French, On Cable TV, November 2018) Even by the permissive standards of French-Canadian cinema, La rage de l’ange is a bit of an oddball. Written and directed by Dan Bigras, often best known as a singer with an extensive street history, it’s a highly melodramatic tragedy about three young people in desperate circumstances, drawn to the Montréal underworld even if it offers no way out. Coming from a filmmaker with considerable experience in combining poetry with slang, it’s not a surprise if the film ends up stuck on two different registers, occasionally bringing high language to low surroundings (such as Pierre Lebeau’s memorable “Pope”, spouting pretentious philosophy from a barstool) and high tragedy to a contemporary setting. Socially engaged, it’s a movie that touches upon a bewildering number of issues ranging from prostitution, sexual abuse, homosexuality, street gangs and the normalization of violence. There is no happy ending in sight for the young protagonists at any point in the film, and the blunt-force approach of the film isn’t made for subtlety. As the title suggests, they could have been angels in other circumstances. If there’s an audience for this respectable but not enjoyable film, it may be less the street kids and more the suburban liberals wanting their most heartfelt prejudices confirmed.

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