Slamdance 2023: Nut Jobs (Les pas d’allure)

Directed by: Alexandre Leblanc
Distributed by: TBA

Written by Alexander Reams


When titling a film there are many ways you can go about it, from simple but effective like “Titanic” or a bit abstract such as “A Clockwork Orange.” Alexandre Leblanc chose the most literal description to entitle his latest work, “Nut Jobs.” Leblanc’s film centers on political turmoil within Quebec after Angie (Sophie Desmarais) is let go from her position at a right-wing radio station following a coup she tried to lead. Following her firing her ex-boyfriend  Benju (Jean Sébastien Courchesne) decides to break into Valèrie Gravel’s (Annie St-Pierre) house, as an act of revenge on her father Valère Gravel (Richard Fréchette), a rich right-wing extremist who owns the radio station. He prides himself on his picture-perfect right-wing family and a public violation like this would be damning to his reputation. Leblanc allows the viewer to be in Benju’s mind and his logic of using the junior Gravel on Sr. is touched on but Leblanc never makes it clear what the thinking was, but Benju as a character is consistently making bad decisions like this throughout. Soon after the break-in, Benju is taken hostage and beaten for information regarding the break-in, before eventually escaping to Angie’s house. 

“Nut Jobs” is an abrasive film and that’s what Leblanc wants, there is anger in every frame, and I appreciated that. His vision is uncompromising in how he tells this fairly straightforward story, whether broken into vignettes, by speeches from revolutionaries, musical interludes, or flashing images. Leblanc wastes no time letting the audience know what they are in for, the opening credits are intercut with a woman listening to music and being hypnotized in a drug-like state by animated lines exuding from the record player. It’s hypnotic, and alerts you to the frenetic nature of this film, from there the introduction of every scene is intercut with a radio shock jock dispersing right-wing extremism. With the number of franchises and IPs, when a director gets behind the camera fueled with rage and harnesses that into the frame, it’s a jolt of energy that can’t be replicated, it’s a tough film to get through, but if you can it’s worth your time.

“Nut Jobs” was screened as part of the 2023 edition of the Slamdance Film Festival.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

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