Directed by André Turpin, who has also served as a cinematographer for queer Québécois filmmaking wunderkind Xavier Dolan, among others, Endorphine is a masterclass in style in search of a stronger foundation of substance to ground itself in.
Stripped down to its most straightforward thread of plot—something along the lines of: “a teenage girl grapples with the trauma of witnessing her mother’s murder”--Endorphine might not sound like a film that would turn out to be a mindbending meditation on the nature of time, the permeability of reality, and the power of the unconscious mind. But that’s exactly what the film becomes over the course of its lean 83-minute runtime. Slowly and fitfully at first, the film veers into choppy narrative digressions and strange loops. Then, around the halfway mark, the story leaps ahead into the abstract while still remaining just barely tethered to its emotional core.
Sunday, April 10, 9:15 pm
Monday, April 18, 9:30 pm
Director: André Turpin
Producers: Luc Déry, Kim McCraw
Writer: André Turpin
Cinematographer: Josée Deshaies
Editor: Sophie Leblond
Music: François Lafontaine
Cast: Sophie Nélisse, Mylène MacKay, Lise Roy, Guy Thauvette, Monia Chokri, Stéphane Crête, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Théodore Pellerin, Fanny Migneault-Lecavalier
This progression is interspersed with a physics lecture (seriously!) explaining how human perception is a distorted lens that falsely construes time as linear—one of a handful of elements that feel more than a little obvious. Still, the film’s stylized cinematography and surgically precise editing make it a truly enveloping experience, and its central performances are excellent, particularly Sophie Nélisse as the young protagonist. Ultimately, Endorphine is worth seeking out for connoisseurs of slick and ambitious independent cinema.