VAN D: Anne Émond. Canada. 101 min. Sep 9, 6 pm, Hot Docs Cinema Sep 11, 7 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3. Rating: NNNN
After the intimate Nuit #1 and the sprawling Our Loved Ones, Émond switches modes yet again with this subjective look at the life and work of the late Quebec author Nelly Arcan (the pen name of Isabelle Fortier).
Émond mixes flashes of Fortier’s life – her youth, a toxic relationship, the crushing despair of her final years – with dramatizations of Arcan’s autobiographical novels about a sex worker who calls herself Cynthia.
It’s trickier to describe than it is to experience, thanks to Émond’s confident direction and Mylène Mackay’s revelatory performance as the real and imagined versions of Arcan.