Starring: Thomas Gibson, Ruth Marshall, Mia Kirshner
Director: Denys Arcand
Rated: R 18+
According to Canadian director Denys Arcand there are two main subjects in life; death and sex. And both of them get a good work out in Love and Human Remains. Made a full decade before The Barbarian Invasions which won him the Best foreign Language Oscar last year, this film is set in the twilight zone of an unnamed Canadian city. Here, in the shadows of huge concrete freeways, a loose band of twenty-somethings mill around looking for some kind of intimacy.
The handsome David (Thomas Gibson) finds it in dark and anonymous nightclubs after apathetically waiting on tables. A former child star and a self-confessed queer, he lives with his ex girlfriend, Candy (Ruth Marshall) who is becoming more and more neurotic with each passing day. She wants a relationship but it seems that the more she concentrates on the stains on the futon the less likely it is that she will meet someone. Until one day she finds herself with not one but two suitors; the gorgeous Jerri (Joanna Vannicola) and Robert (Rick Roberts). Is she bent or straight? Or somewhere in between?
While Candy struggles with her sexuality, David’s friend Benita (Mia Kirshner) is dealing with the fantasies of some extremists in her role as a dominatrix – in one memorable scene David is called in to help with a cowboy boot fetishist. However, behind all this apparent frivolity, there is a serial killer on the loose targeting young women, each time taking an earring as a souvenir. When Jerri buys a pair for Candy there is a tense undercurrent until she asks the salesgirl if they gift wrap and she replies drolly; “It’s what we live for”.
Arcand has taken his story from a play by Brad Fraser but there is hardly a trace of overblown theatricality here. Just a hyper real depiction of the search for love and the human desire for connection. And with the luscious camera work by Paul Sarossy, who shot most of fellow Canadian Atom Egoyan’s impressive body of work, you can’t help but be moved by it.