Social Hygiene (Denis Côté, 2021)
Date: July 7, 2022
Location: 2220 Arts + Archives
Address: 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057
Los Angeles premiere! Exclusive video "outro" by director Denis Côté to follow the screening!
Antonin is a bit of a dandy. He has a way with words that could have made him a famous writer, but instead mostly serves to get him out of trouble. Torn between twin urges to be part of society and also to escape it, his charm and wit are put to the test by five women who are about to lose their patience with his live and let live attitude: his sister, his wife, the woman he desires, a tax collector and a victim of his mischief.
All of Denis Côté’s films are unique, but Social Hygiene—co-winner of the Best Director prize in the Encounters section at the 2021 Berlinale—feels defiantly free, and bears testimony to the way in which the constraints of a pandemic can be the mother of invention when it comes to cinematic forms and storytelling. Côté’s use of language is playful, unchained. And as he gradually homes in on his verbally jousting protagonists, one ponders the sheer joy of being given such an opportunity to explore the penetrating impact of diction and tonal shifts. In fact, the charismatic actors are also clearly relishing this socially hygienic reaffirming of a performing troupe’s creative energy. Official Selection: Berlinale, NYFF, TIFF.
[An] excellent, amusing, and unexpected film.
A.S. Hamrah, The Baffler
An odd, original take on the idea that men and women live on different planets.
Lee Marshall, Screen International
An intellectually ticklish example of responding to filmmaking limitations with invention and droll wit.
Jessica Kiang, Variety
In [its] verbosity, simplicity of staging, and plein-air settings, [Social Hygiene's] tête-à-têtes suggest community theater, albeit with the snap and vigor of actors in full command of the comic and tragic turns in Côté’s material.
Carson Lund, Slant Magazine
Social Hygiene is a neo-Dadaist “film for film’s sake,” an experience to absorb or squint at, but where more rational forms of understanding are happily deflected. It’s a work of carefully-wrought artifice that reminds you this is really what all films are.
David Katz, The Film Stage