Berlinale Competition 2019: “Ghost Town Anthology” shows sad country life

Berlinale Competition
:“Ghost Town Anthology” portrays the drab rural life

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  • Thomas Klein

Disturbed: Jimmy Dub (Robert Naylor), the brother of the dead.

Disturbed: Jimmy Dub (Robert Naylor), the brother of the dead.


Screen grave

The film “Ghost Town Anthology” receives two out of five stars from our film critic. ★★

★ Total flop
★★ failures
★★★ Worth seeing
★★★★ bear candidate
★★★★★ masterpiece


Winter in Quebec. Desaturated are the images of an already bleak landscape: snow-covered fields and bare trees surround the village of Irne-les-Neiges, empty farms, deserted houses. Only 215 people still live here. It is known that every loss weighs double and triple: The accident of the young Simon, which no one wants to call a suicide, traumatizes the community, the death speech of the mayor (Diane Lavalle) sounds almost like a canonization.

Denis Cot combines the everyday with the supernatural

One thinks much of the village cohesion, refuses any help from the outside. The district administration sends a young woman for pastoral care, but the mayor rejects them harshly. The villagers can use any support. Because more and more people see the deceased. It rumbles in empty rooms. Figures emerge, in the field, in the street.

Denis Ct was three years ago with “Boris Sans Batrice” in the Berlinale Competition, then balanced the director with his story mental burden and mythical significance. In “Rpertoire des villes disparues” (“Ghost Town Anthology”) he tries to connect the everyday with something supernatural. Ct makes them tangible, the vague futility of a country life in a village where people live out of habit. In vignettes he outlines the shock and grief, but also the leaden emptiness that prevails in Irne-les-Neiges. Simon’s little brother Jimmy (Robert Naylor) is calling for a signal, a signal from the dead, his father (Jean-Michel Anctil) is just starting somewhere, somewhere through the deserted hinterland.

“Rpertoire des villes disparues” becomes file X

One wants to get involved in Ct’s view and be tormented by the apparitions that haunt, haunt, and plague the living: mourning and sadness can take many forms. But then the brittle drama about rural exodus and emotional stunting turns into a kind of auteur film “X-Files”.

At a meeting where the traumatized congregation comes together, the man from the district administration and the caregiver he manages to explain, the “figures” that one sees, are in fact no illusions. No, everywhere in Quebec, beyond the big cities, there would be this phenomenon: The dead return to the places of their lives, without emotion and wordless, they are really there.

And suddenly “Rpertoire des villes disparues” no longer seems ambitious and psychological, but rather like a half-conceived genre-gimmick. Five meters above the wintry field hovering during her lifetime, the labile and frightful Adle (Larissa Corriveau), she looks satisfied – but a giggle can not be completely suppressed when watching.