Showtime, and Jean Leclerc has just finished polishing off his Ice Cream
par Juan Rodriguez
dans The Gazette, 18 octobre 2007

It was enough to make you scream for Ice Cream. That's the name of the first fictional film by Jean Leclerc, the Québécois rock icon formerly known as Leloup. An hour before its premiere, last Thursday at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema, he was still in his studio tweaking. When he arrived a half-hour later, eyes popping out of his flushed face, he quickly repaired to the Ex-Centris courtyard for a "smoke."

Introducing Ice Cream - a surreal, often violent tale set in Hanoi - Leclerc explained to the packed house that it was a work in progress. Well, duh. "I'm sure I will walk out of here embarrassed," he said with a mixture of sheepishness and exhilaration.

Later, festival director Claude Chamberlan said the event was the closest he'd come to cancelling a film. "If he had taken the taxi here 15 minutes later ..." he said, his voice trailing off, contemplating the impossible. "Then again, it's interesting to see something that's not finished. Most directors are skittish about that."

Not that it was planned this way. But Leclerc is a shamelessly creative spirit, publishing a book of short stories after retiring the name Leloup (and returning to music under his real surname with last year's superb Mexico album). "I think I need to cut about five or 10 minutes," said a relieved Leclerc afterward.

The film - shot in beautiful colour with kinetic camera work and a brilliant twangy guitar soundtrack - features a blind transvestite ex-prostitute tooling around on a pink Vespa, a failed actress (played to the hilt by Violette Chauveau) with a cruel overwrought spiel and an obese son, and plenty of swordplay. Lost souls in an elegantly decayed city now awash in corporate globalism.

"When I saw the first version," Chamberlan said, "I could see it was very different from the other films in the festival. The thing I love most in his music is the poetry of his lyrics, and he's trying to find a way to transfer that to film."

The shoot was "intense," said actress Esther Gaudet ( Leclerc's real-life paramour), "because there were a lot of improvised scenes - that's the way Jean likes to work. Plus, we only had five weeks (in Hanoi) and we didn't know whether there would be enough time to finish before leaving." But, she added, "in disorder there's a certain logic. People say they want to digest the film and get back with comments in a week."

Ice Cream has its final festival screening Saturday at 3 p.m. Then it's back to the drawing board for "Deadwolf" Leclerc.
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Dernière mise à jour le 19 octobre 2007.
Conception: SD