Un Zoo la nuit
Un Zoo la nuit (Night Zoo), one of the most audacious debut features in Canadian film history, is a violent, contemporary story about an ex-con, Marcel (Gilles Maheu), who tries to pick up the pieces of his life after a brutal stint in prison. He goes to retrieve the $200 000 he stashed away, but finds everyone, from a crooked cop (Germain Houde) to drug pushers, wants a piece of the action. Struggling for equilibrium, he reunites with his dying father (Roger Le Bel) and the pair retreat deep into the woods to fish and hunt, but the respite is only temporary. When his father is hospitalized, Marcel plans one last, bizarre hunting trip to the Montréal zoo.
Jean-Claude Lauzon's direction is remarkably assured, and Guy Dufaux's vivid cinematography captures the gritty underworld of Montréal highlighted by neon signs and hot streetlights. It has its shocking elements, but overall Un Zoo La Nuit is a well-executed and thoughtful movie about a son trying to re-establish his relationship with his father. Its 13 Genie Awards set an all-time record and included best picture, director, screenplay, actor (Le Bel), supporting actor (Houde) and cinematography. It also won the Best Canadian Film award at the 1987 Montréal World Film Festival and the International Film Critics Prize at the Toronto Festival of Festivals.