AFI Fest 2014
Directed by Quebec auteur Stéphane Lafleur, Tu dors Nicole (You’re Sleeping, Nicole) is a melancholy film about friendship at summer’s end. Nicole (Julianne Côté) and her best friend Veronique (Catherine St-Laurent) are recent college grads anxious to get out of the suburbs. Shot in luminous 35mm black-and-white by Sara Mishara, their town doesn’t look half bad. It’s just that there isn’t much to do. As Peter Labuza writes:
Lafleur shoots sequences mostly in long takes with a bit of open framing; characters may stay central to the composition, but we are given the ability to observe the rest of the space each character inhabits and notice subtle clues concerning their background.
With the parents away, Nicole thought she had the house to herself until her guitarist brother Rémi (Marc-André Grondin) shows up unexpectedly, rehearsing with his very loud jam band. Their playing is energetic and surprisingly good. The problem is that Rémi can’t hold onto a drummer. Further complicating matters is that Nicole has eyes for this one.
For the most part, the forays into magical realism liven up the proceedings. A recurring fantasy bit about a pre-teen boy with a crush on Nicole is overdone, however. Then again, her interaction with an obnoxious, retarded co-worker is anything but heart warming and that’s a good thing.