The following review contains spoilers and the suggestion of sexual assault.
How does a filmmaker achieve character development? I have a newfound respect for filmmakers that make it seem intuitive, only because Genèse writer and director, Philippe Lesage does not. I may not know the particulars of developing characters on screen, but I see when it’s not working. For Lesage, portraying the protagonists’ growth is reduced to giving the lead man a J.D. Salinger book and having the female protagonist getting raped at a party, as if a coming-of-age film could be any more cliché. Sure, more stuff happens over the 129 minutes, including many soft orb-lit interiors, homages to classic French cinema and a little bi-curiosity for flavour, but there is no plot — nothing for the viewer to grasp onto except when cued to pay attention by TOPS’ “Outside,” a song played at least three times. Overall, the acting is good with some standout performances, but the actors didn’t have much to work with.
Lesage, if you’ve read this far down the review, I applaud you. I’ve been harsh and I know it, but I encourage you to strive for more originality, especially with regards to your portrayal of women. You aren’t the only director guilty of using women as pawns by depicting their abuse as a means to push a story forward, but I think you can do better.
Screening at Vancouver International Film Festival on Sept 28 and Oct 1