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May 30, 2023

Montreal Girls


Patricia Chica - 2022
Level 33 Entertainment

The dramatic arc of Montreal Girls is a variation of a familiar story. In this case, a young man, an aspiring poet, begins medical school to please his parents. Following episodes of heartbreak with two woman, and walking out on a class lecture, he is at a crossroad determining his future. Just as he has appeared to hit rock bottom, there is both family and personal reconciliation that allows the young man to continue his future as a literature student and appear at local poetry readings.

This Canadian production is atypically cast with characters who are ethnically or socially marginal, or both. The young would-be poet, Ramy, is from an unnamed Mideastern country. His host uncle is still somewhat traditional, as indicated by serving tea in a glass. Ramy's cousin, dyed blond hair and leather jacket, plays in a hard core punk band. Ramy is attracted to Yasmina, also of Arab descent, who states she is rebelling against any traditional life, choosing to play the part of the exotic other. Ramy, an English speaking Arab in Montreal, gets lost among Francophone poets, punk rock fans, and rockabilly club patrons. Ramy is an outsider among the bands of outsiders.

Except for a couple of shots of back alleys at night, Montreal presented here looks very pretty, like a commercial to encourage tourism. I am not sure anyone else would be as happy riding their moped in the rain like young Ramy. Also included are close-ups of leaves in Fall colors. This is Patricia Chica's debut dramatic feature after almost thirty years of short films and documentaries. Ms. Chica immigrated to Canada from El Salvador at a young age, making me think that perhaps something inspired by her own story might be of greater, and more substantial, substance.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at May 30, 2023 05:36 AM