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Love, Obsession and "Family" in the Cities. Night Zoo by Jean Claude Lauzon “The Last Game” By Michel Brault. Family, Love and Obsession. City intensifies the contradictions and conflicts in human society and human mind. Racial conflict is one.

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Love, Obsession and "Family" in the Cities

Night Zoo by Jean Claude Lauzon

“The Last Game” By Michel Brault


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Family, Love and Obsession

  • City intensifies the contradictions and conflicts in human society and human mind. Racial conflict is one.

  • Love/Desire frustrated and/or intensified  obsession

  • Destruction of Family  caused by

    • 1) rapid development of capitalism;

    • 2) rapid flows of capitals, people and commodities, human desires, etc. (example)

  •  turning place into non-place (explanation)


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Family, Love and Obsession

e.g. Night Zoo:

Besides crimes and human weaknesses, the renovation of the restaurant (e.g. broken wall) and the closing of Albert’s store (e.g. hatred of the Japanese/Toyota; clip 2; 6) are also factors for the broken family.


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Non-Place & Space of Flows

  • "place" -- offers a sense of tradition,identity and location. e.g. home, school, old Montreal, temple, etc.

  • "Non-place" -- "a space devoid of the symbolic expressions of identity, relations and history" (George Benko)

  • e.g. airports, motorways, anonymous hotel rooms, public transport and the internet.

  • Ref. All that is Solid Melts into Air. (Marshall Berman) Manuel Castell Information City.


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Michel Brault’s words on “The Last Game”

  • As far as Montreal goes, it is a place where we tear everything down to build from the ground up, where we're progressively killing the city. The destruction of the couple in the film is a parable for the city I once loved. Montreal has lost its soul.Montreal no longer exists. . .That's the reason I don't show it and why I use what might be seen as the most 'Montreal' of activities--hockey"


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The Last Game”

The wife wants to leave the “last game” and “retire” from her marriage

  • What are the problems between the husband and the wife?

  • Where do you see the feminine perspectives in the film?

  • What does the wife want? What's the essential for her? When is she hurt most? What does the "crack" mean for her?

  • What are the husband's problems?


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Feminine Perspective

  • the opening scene (clip 10): home and photo as solid tradition  dream broken to pieces

  • Moment of leaving home (clip 11)

  • Speaks inside herself when she is ignored or not understood by her husband. (clip 13)


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The problems between the couple

  • Lack of communication;

  • Ignored –as if she were half of him-- and Not being understood,

  • Two important moments:

    • After retirement

    • After the surgery – the crack

  • The essential: our “plans”

  • The husband’s problems: retirement and inability to understand her need to be an individual – thought it were another man or menopause that cause her problems.


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Michel Brault

  • One of the pioneers of cinéma vérité techniques since 1950s: "to show life as it is"..

  • cameraman, director of photography, director and producer

  • Made a lot of renowned documentaries;

  • Turned to feature film, when he realized that documentaries were not always "absolutely truthful.“ (source)

  • His feature films: Les ordre

    (1974, about October Crisis),

    Mon Ami Max(1994), Paper Wedding (1989).


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    The Robber Bride

    • from the legend of Robber Bridegroom.

    • 《格林童話》中「強盜新郎」("The Robber Bridegroom")的故事。「強盜新郎」與藍鬍子童話原型大致相同,敘述一名男子以英俊多金的形象拐騙村落中的年輕女子,將她們攜回森林中的城堡予以肢解並吞食。但是經過艾氏的改寫,扭轉了原演受害者,同時也是加害者的角色。這種性別扭轉的處理,以及後設小說式對文類傳統的質疑,使本書常被書評者定位為「後現代女性童話」(Grace 44)。 (source)


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    The Robber Bride

    • Three main characters: Tony, Charis, Roz.

    Roz, a president of a company on top of a building

    Charis, ex-hippie living on Toronto island

    Tony-- History professor at a University


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    Double/multiple identity

    • Zenia becomes their obsession, which they need to exorcize. But actually she also serves as their double, meeting their desires and taking advantage of their fears and weaknesses.

    • Roz’s double identity: Roz Grunwald (a Jewish name) or Rosalind Greenwood


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    Roz’ childhood  adulthood

    • Chap 42: Roz’s childhood with her mother in their rooming house. Her school’s Catholic education.  missing her father, a hero to her. (360); DP, displaced person (365-66)

    • Chap 43: Roz’s father back from WWII. Roz getting to know about anti-Semitism. Her father as DP (374)

    • Chap 44: the Father’s mistresses (like Mitch?) and his getting rich. Roz takes on a Jewish identity. Roz as a hybrid (387-90).


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    Issues for discussion

    • Roz’s family broken by Zenia? Or?

    • Roz’s sense of identity as a Jew, a career woman, a mother and a wife;

    • Development of women’s magazines (WiseWomanWorld).

    • the twins and Larry;

    • Mitch

    • How Roz survives her trauma and obsession by Zenia.


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