Maelstrom | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Maelstrom 

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This winner of several "best in Canadian filmmaking" awards, a fable about human disruptions of the natural order, brings an original mix of whimsy and melancholia to the story of Bibi, a 25-year-old manager of high-end boutiques on a downward spiral (played by the beautiful Marie-Jose Croze with an appropriately distanced flatness). After an abortion leaves her feeling guilty and physically ill, she hits a fishmonger while driving home drunk and leaves him in the street. A fish on a chopping block, which occasionally serves as narrator, declares, "He who kills will be killed"-a general law that serves to explain several creepy coincidences. Director Denis Villeneuve combines this narrative with a clipped, abrupt style, frequently antiseptic settings, and odd inserts, such as a foot close-up in a lovemaking scene, to suggest the alienation inherent in industrial civilization. In subtitled French and Norwegian as well as English. 85 min. Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday, August 2, 7:00 and 9:00; Saturday and Sunday, August 3 and 4, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, and 9:00; and Monday through Thursday, August 5 through 8, 7:00 and 9:00; 773-281-4114.

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