"Your boy. He's sick," an audience member said to Montreal director Philippe Falardeau after a screening of his "It's Not Me, I Swear" at the San Francisco International Film Festival.
"I didn't know if she was talking about me or my character," Philippe said.
Philippe's slightly contemporized version of Truffaut's "The 400 Blows" is a series of meandering adventures of a hellion ten-year-old after his mother abruptly leaves the family. Armed with eggs, a screwdriver, and a pocketful of stolen cash, he brings his unique hell to his 1968 suburban neighborhood. A metaphysical questioning has also made him suicidal, though through the eyes of a child who's not afraid of death but neither understands the finality of it.
Of note in the film is the luminous soundtrack of Patrick Wilson, which the director explains delivered the film from the edge -- pushing the tone toward comedy without throwing it over to absurdity.
Philippe said Wilson never read the script. Rather he wanted Philippe to pitch scenes to him while he wrote the music.
"That's a crock of shit," says Philippe. "He was just too lazy to read it. But it worked."
Did Watson see the finished film?
Since its Toronto fest preem, the film hasn't landed a U.S. distributor, despite Dennis Harvey's Variety review:
Delicately balanced between absurdity and tragedy by director Philippe Falardeau ("Congorama"), adapting Bruno Hebert's 1997 novel and its 2000 sequel, this adventuresome, accomplished piece should ride critical acclaim to solid home-turf returns and a fair shot at offshore arthouse distribution.
Check out the trailer: