Directed by: #PierPhilippeChevigny
Rebel (Recrue) is a short film set in the near future of Quebec (2022). The film highlights the growing right-wing extremist groups and the strong influence they have on others. Especially the young and impressionable such as the character Alex (Edouard B. Larocque), a 6 year old boy and son of a right wing extremist. The film is shown through Alex’s eyes, he has no knowledge of the distress his father and other members of the group inflict. Alex is taken into the woods with his father and the group one day and witnesses first-hand their intimidating behaviour, he becomes confused and after this experience looks at his father in a completely new light.
The film opens up to Alex playing with his toys, his father is shown to be devoted and caring as the pair talk of ice cream sundaes and chocolate sauce, clearly portraying a loving relationship between the two. The film takes a sudden turn as the father decides to take the boy on a patrol into the woods to hunt trespassing migrants, completely juxtaposing the warm and affectionate father the audience first observe. The scene shows children playing and having their faces painted, but there is always that undertone of aggression as one father takes pictures of his daughter holding a knife and tells her to look fierce. The children are oblivious to their surroundings and the reason as to why they are there. This created a huge impact and director, Pier-Philippe Chevigny, was able to produce an uncomfortable ambience through this. To expose children to this environment and indoctrinate such strong views onto innocent minds is quite disturbing, particularly due to how ignorant they are of the politics behind this, this is a great way to open a story.
Whilst the gang search through the woods, Alex stumbles across a family hiding from the group. Unknowingly, Alex tells his father and the group explain that the family are not wanted in their country and begin to handcuff them, as well as the small child who looks a similar age to Alex. There are a lot of short cuts and close up’s of Alex’s expressions as he watches his father, the crying child and the panic from the family. He becomes overwhelmed and frightened of the situation, as well as his father. Their dominant behaviour and message of hate takes over the scene and this is felt by both Alex and the audience, it was an extremely powerful image which lies heavy on the mind.
Not only is the film brilliantly shot, the camera angles from the child’s perspective allowed the audience to really engage with the scene and become a part of the madness, the story also acts as a platform to voice political views and highlights the issues currently occurring in today’s society. It makes for an interesting watch as well as opening the floor for debate.
Rebel (Recrue) is definitely worthy of a 5 star rating, it creates a very dark picture of our society today or merely holds a mirror towards humanity, projecting the more hostile parts of civilisation with which most of us choose to ignore. Alex becomes that beacon of hope within this short film and the moral compass which inspired and elevated the entire piece.