Léolo (1992)

Leolo title.

You have no idea what you're getting into.

Léolo is a stinking gutter fuck of a good time. The worst that Internet porn has to offer, packaged in a neatly wrapped art house bow tie that actually predates the Internet, but predicts the burlesque grotesque-ity like a fortune teller dropping a massive deuce. Filled with semen, feces, bestiality, incest, fetishism, masturbation and girly men. It’s all here, and slut bag director Jean-Claude Lauzon is absolutely DGAF about it all. This film is incoherently blasé about good taste, but maybe that is it’s charm. Who is the judge of good taste anyway? Well, like all great art, it stirred an emotional response from me. The same emotional response one would get when you are offered money to have sex with a house cat in heat.

This is a French-Canadian movie. I don’t think that’s supposed to be funny, so I’m going to assume it’s not. Anyways, Léolo is the story of a young boy who goes into puberty and realizes that his family is a bunch of dirty rotten warthogs and their only passion in life is to shit all day long. The children are given a regular laxative shock treatment, similar to how Catholics like to put bits and pieces of Jesus’ mummified cracker jacks into people’s mouths.  The family is convinced that good health can only come through shitting. When young Léolo doesn’t want to poop, his father will chase him down and force him into mandatory enema. So, in order to escape the hellish poop (literally) of his existence, he retreats into a fantasy world full of pseudo literature, poetry, and sexual catharsis.

Leolo poop scene.

They really really like to poop.

Léolo, played by Maxime Collin, is the son of a father who jerked off onto some tomatoes. No really! This actually happens. His mother wandered a bit too close to the contaminated fruit, and during the process of falling into the pile and getting one lodged up into her vagina, somehow they survived long enough to impregnate her. That is what he believes, anyway. Wait, do people in Montreal, Canada actually put up with public masturbation? This guy just stands there, out in the open, whacking it into some tomatoes, and his buddy walks over and tells him to quit it, but he says, bug off, these tomatoes are going to America anyway, and the other guy is like, alright whatever. This reveals one important theme throughout the movie: Never, ever purchase food products imported from Canada. You have no idea where they’ve been.

Léolo falls in love with the girl next door. Literally, he likes to spy on her through the window and get off. Her name is Bianca, she’s Italian and probably in her late teens or early twenties, and Léolo’s grandfather likes to pay her to suck his gross and pruned old man toes and to show off her tits. To this, Léolo squeezes his snake, so to speak. He then discovers the art of pornography, and being the creative little sucker fucker that he is, decides to cut open a slab of raw meat and use it as an artificial vagina. He sets it on the floor and humps it as he flips through the pages of Canada’s equivalent to Playboy.

Not old enough to develop common sense yet, he never actually tries to nail her at any point in the film, despite the fact that she clearly enjoys the thought of him jerking it to her and probably wants it in the butt really bad. Hey, the kid would be quite an upgrade from smelly old grandpa, though I’m not sure how much the Canadian government would agree. Hell, with all the disgusting shit that happens in this movie, that would be the most normal act in the whole film!

In another scene, a childhood friend of his thinks he’s tough shit, so he does anything that anybody dares him to do. Luckily, one of them has access to a furry feline in heat. They all put down money for him to do it. Guess what happens next. I SAID GUESS WHAT HAPPENS. Well, if you couldn’t guess, I’m not going to tell you. Figure it out or prepare yourself a bottle of antidepressants for when you decide to watch this anti-masterpiece.

The description for this film reads an “unusually fertile imagination” and a “rich fantasy world”. Well, let me tell you that it’s a big, stinky, turdy covered lie. Léolo’s imagination is anything but fertile, and his rich fantasy world consists of railing his true love Bianca, and boring trips to Italy where nothing happens. My fantasy world is better than Léolo’s. Where are all the anthropomorphic cat women? Where are all the Unicorns spraying fire out of their eyeballs? Why would he choose to go to Italy and not the 67th dimension? Sorry, but Léolo’s imagination is BORING. So boring that he decides to kill himself by voluntarily choking on his own vomit.

What else stinks? The music seems really out of place, even pretentious somewhat. What does Buddhist Throat singing have to do with this film? This is not a good artistic choice, because I said so. When I first saw the opening scene, I thought I was in for a crazy, surreal, artsy David Lynch kind of movie that would thrill and shock me and blow my mind. Instead, I got a crazy, surreal, artsy scat porn. Come to think of it, tagging it with surreal is a mild injustice, since the bits that do appear to come off as surreal fall totally flat. We see Léolo stare into a bright white light that nobody else can see. That’s pretty much it. Hell, I thought he was gonna get abducted by gray aliens from Zeti-Reticuli. Not so, this movie isn’t cool enough for that.

Leolo hanging scene

This is basically what it feels like to watch this movie.

Now, there ARE good things here to see. The cinematography is pretty nice, and the direction is great. Lauzon certainly knows what he’s doing, or he pulls off the illusion that he knows what he’s doing, but I suppose that’s the same thing? There’s a vague sense of comedy going on that is subtle and at the same time not very effective to begin with, but it’s there. So, I suppose another reaction would be to laugh at it. I laughed at a few parts, like when little Léolo attempts to murder his grandpa. You can’t go wrong with that!

Another thing to mention is the relationship between Léolo and his troubled older brother, who gets his nose broken by an underground newspaper dealer that they’re working for. I guess Newspapers are illegal in Montreal? He then starts working out and by the time he’s older he’s 200 pounds of muscle. He swears he’ll never get beaten up again. Then he goes and gets beaten up by the same lanky dude that busted his nose many years before. Fear is stronger than muscle, and all those years of working out was a waste a time. He and Léolo then share a bond by being equally incapacitated by their miserable, pointless existence. It’s poignant and fleeting.

All in all the ride was a waste, much like the contents of the toilet bowls inhabiting the fecally depressing Canadian landscape. It took me to places I didn’t want to go and I got nothing out of the experience. No lessons learned and no revelations to be had. Just like porn. Except good porn turns me on, this kind just makes me want to jump off a bridge that just so happens to coincidentally be strung over a super massive black hole. It’s a coming of age story that reveals nothing about the grueling act of getting to any age. This film is loose, watery, and frequent stool. Don’t forget to bring some napkins.

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