I saw this sci-fi film at the Mill Valley Festival when it came out, watched it again recently on Amazon and thought it was refreshing, poetic, inspiring, intelligent and highly imaginative. A futuristic, steam-punk audiovisual feast! It's an amazing accomplishment and you can see that the filmmaker put a whole lot of love in every frame. Everything about it is different from the regular type of films that are out there and it has some rather unusual ideas about the soul and person that completes us. At its core, it's a love story, a poetic tale, a dream on celluloid. To me, this film is of the same genre as those of two favourite filmmakers of mine: Terry Gilliam and Luc Besson. I can't say enough what an incredible feat in filmmaking I think "Mars & Avril" is. It's stunningly beautiful and haunting, and like nothing I've ever seen. I grew up reading Carl Sagan so I'm an easy target for themes of spiritualism and space. His point was always that humanism and astrophysics aren't mutually exclusive, and this film says this in a very unique way. I'm really amazed at how completely the filmmaker realized this future culture, down to the architecture, fashion and music. The way he conceived the idea of music in the future, informed by and informing physics and science as we know it; the evolution of musical instruments and sounds; the cosmic, almost religious implications of music that have taken hold in this future society; it was all so beautifully imagined. The way he took science fiction and used it not to create wild action sequences and wars, but an emotional love story, really changed the way I now think about the genre. Heavily relying on green screens, "Mars & Avril" is set in a futuristic Montreal, a place that greatly resembles Blade Runner's Los Angeles or The Fifth Element's NYC, a dreamy future city reminiscent of comics anthology 'Metal Hurlant', yet with something new.
I wish me and my friends had the opportunity to see this movie, with English subtitles, in East Central Ontario -- or even Toronto. There are so very few Canadian films which look to the future of our society that any chance to view one is golden.