Directed by: #SimonBoisvert
Once described as “the Canadian #EdWood”, Simon Boisvert is known for making, mostly, terrible low-budget films. The kind of terrible films which often garner a cult following because, for all their badness, they’re entertaining. Much like famed director Edward Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space, or, more recently, #TommyWiseau’s #TheRoom. But it’s easy to forget that behind these films we all so gleefully laugh at is an imaginative and well-intentioned individual, one who may not be the most technically proficient; or artistically inclined; or terribly good at writing. But one with stories to tell, as well as his/her own story. This is Boisvert’s story.
Bold & Brash follows in the footsteps of #TimBurton’s #EdWood and #JamesFranco’s #TheDisasterArtist in the way it approaches its subject matter. This is a frank but sympathetic look into the professional life of Simon Boisvert, whose film career began in 2001 with a string of French-language films (before eventually moving onto English-language film in 2005) which he wrote, produced, and starred in. The difference is, this isn’t a drama with actors and whatnot, but a documentary that interweaves interviews from personal friends, colleagues, and Boisvert himself, with footage from his previous films.
And like Wood before him, Boisvert seems to possess the vision for his films but not necessarily the talent required to bring them together—particularly with the writing. It’s worth noting, however, that during the documentary It’s made clear once Boisvert began directing his films (#Barmaids 2005), there was a marked improvement. That trend continues with Bold & Brash. This is a really well put-together documentary that flows through Boisvert’s filmmaking career with grace and clarity. The interviews are well-shot, and there’s some well-placed behind-the-scenes footage spliced into the film, relevant to what’s being discussed, which allows us to appreciate the situation all the more. The audio quality is clear and subtitles (as there are French-speaking peoples interviewed) are easily legible. But #MathieuGrondin’s superb editing is what makes the film work so well...at least from a technical standpoint.
The sincerity in which the interviewees conduct themselves also works really well here and is incredibly refreshing. Not one of the numerous people interviewed hold back any criticism of either their co-stars, the filmmaker, or indeed, themselves. Having said that there’s very little vitriol amongst any of Boisvert’s cast of regular collaborators, and most seem to have, generally, fond memories of the work they’ve done...warts and all. Indeed, even Boisvert himself owns the mistakes he’s made in the past with good humour and consideration.
This is Simon Boisvert’s story, make no mistake about it. But, at the same time, his story could be anyone’s, and I’d be surprised if there weren’t hundreds of budding filmmakers – all with stories to tell but with no money to tell them – who have struggled to overcome the same obstacles as him. For me, this is how Bold & Brash works best...as an examination of indie filmmaking in the (relatively) modern age. At one point during the film, the question “Should you be doing movies with such a small budget?” is posed. The answer comes back (“no”), but I disagree. Inventive use of equipment and locations and a good imagination can overcome many problems, you’ve just got to try. In this way, Bold & Brash isn’t only the title, it’s advice, given freely to upcoming filmmakers everywhere. And there’s something inherently uplifting about that.