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Saint-Narcisse – movie review

Moive: Saint-Narcisse
Released: 2020

Every now and then, you come across a bizarre movie that’s so weird you can only shake your head in disbelief and wonder how this film even got made. But you also feel compelled to continue watching to the end, just to see just how much weirder it could possibly get! 

This B-grade gay movie by Canadian artist turned filmmaker Bruce LaBruce definitely falls into this category.

The setting

The film is set in 1972 Quebec and opens with a close up of the crotch of Dominic (played by Felix-Antoine Duval). It’s an indication of the crazy things to come as he waits for his load of laundry to be done at a laundromat. The other customer at the laundromat asks him about the female undergarments she sees him fishing out from his completed load of laundry and Dominic claims they are his grandmother’s, because she isn’t well or she would have done it by herself. 

Next thing we see, they are having public sex while a group of gawking passersby gather to watch through the front window! 

Meet the weird extended family

A satiated Dominic then heads home and there’s his ailing grandmother, if only to confirm that he does indeed live with her. 

The story unfolds after the death of his grandmother, and when the self-obsessed Dominic—who has a penchant for taking random selfies of himself with polaroid camera, which would have been significant back in 1972—finds a letter from his presumed-dead mother amongst grandma’s posessions. 
Dominic sets off to look for her at her forest hideaway, where he easily finds Beatrice (Tanya Kontoyanni), the lesbian witch (or so say the people of the nearby village). He finds her living with a younger companion Irene (Alexandra Petrachuk) and after some hesitation Beatrice explains how she came to be separated from her son Dominic after his birth. Essentially, she had taken up with another woman, Agathe, while carrying her child. So the community forcibly removed that child from her at birth, believing it was the best thing to do in order to protect the child from an evil witch of a mother.
At first, Irene is resentful of Dominic who has upset her idyllic existence with Beatrice. But she eventually comes round and then fancies Dominic. But he rebuffs her advances, being unsure if he should be doing this sort of things with his mother’s companion. 

At the town near his mother’s hideout, Dominic had noticed someone that looks like him in amongst a group of monks. So he decides to stalk them at their monastery and is shocked to see through his binoculars what looks like his doppelgänger staring back at him. There’s more spying of this virile group of monks having fun together with lots of gratuitous nudity on display while they all swim in the pond during a recreational break. 

And then Dominic comes face to face with his identical twin brother Daniel.

Is it incest or twincest?

In keeping with the titular narcissistic theme of the movie, the brothers make love with their own image (hmm, is it a shocking case of incest or twincest?) and then we learn that Daniel is Dominic’s twin brother whom he was separated from and raised separately in the monastery. Daniel has become the restless and disobedient prey of a perverted senior priest. Father Andrew is obsessed with Daniel, whom he fancies in the image of Saint Sebastian (yes, their are some gratuitous piercings to follow), and the perverted priest makes him perform sexual acts to appease this fantasy. 

Daniel tells Dominic about this and the latter disapproves of this immorality and declares the senior priest a beast. When Daniel asks if what he’s been subjected to is worse than the sinful act they’ve just performed, we find ourselves laughing out loud when Dominic replies “no, we are family”!

The visual styling is a throwback to 70s exploitation cinema, boldly mixing eroticism and religious imagery with cheesy course-acting. I won’t spoil your fun in case you do end up watching this movie. But I will reveal that things do in fact get worse when mother Beatrice and Irene eventually get to meet Daniel after he is rescued from his awful “moral“ saviours. Sacré bleu, nothing surprises us by this stage!
What else can we say (tongue firmly in cheek) other than that this ‘dramedy’ has something for everyone; with its portrayal of eroticism, religious perversion and hypocrisy, sexual depravity, social revenge, spiritual redemption and the ultimate family ‘togetherness’. 
Please look the other way while I try to laugh and retch at the same time!