MISSING VICTOR PELLERIN (Sophie Deraspe). 105 min. Subtitled. Opens Friday (March 2) at the Royal. See Indie & Rep Film Listings, page 86. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Missing Victor Pellerin is a first-rate mindfuck. It may be a documentary about a late-80s Quebec artist who burned his paintings and disappeared. It may be a mockumentary. A Web search of the name leads straight back to the film.
There are certainly real people in it -- Toronto gallery owner Olga Korper , for one -- but it's quite possible that they're in on the joke. Unlike The Life And Times Of Guy Terrifico, where we know that the "legendary" singer/songwriter is a fiction, it's impossible to tell without intimate knowledge of the Quebec art world of the late 80s exactly what, if anything, is real here.
Whether it's fact or fiction, Sophie Desraspe does a seamless job of constructing this very clever film built around the attempts of Eudore Belzile , Pellerin's best friend, to organize a show of Pellerin's circle. A documentary crew tries to find out the history and "truth" behind the story at gallery openings, in interviews and in long evenings of drink-fuelled reminiscence.
Oh, and if you do a Web search on Belzile, you either find a French actor with a two-film career in the 80s or entries about this film. This is a peculiarly brilliant work that I need to see again.