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The wonderful thing about Quebecois filmmaker Denis Côté is that he really loves making movies. As a result, he frequently grabs his camera and just makes them. Bestiaire is the result of just such an artistic urge. Simply put, the film is an observational documentary that looks at animals through the eyes of Hemmingford’s Parc Safari, a still-life drawing class, and even a taxidermist. But this film is so much more than that.

Côté has always crafted films that require patience on the part of the viewer. That patience is rewarded with insight and wry, Canadian humour. Bestiaire is no different. Côté’s ability to hold the audience’s attention on an observational documentary about a zoo is singularly astonishing. Disney Nature could learn a few things from Monsieur Côté.

He employs unconventional framing techniques and holds his shots long enough for the viewer to settle into watching what he’s showing, rather than imposing their own expectations.

Beyond the inherent artistic and intellectual value of this film, it’s just plain fun. It takes time and patience to see the individual personality in an animal. Côté gives us ““ and the animals ““ that time. All you have to do is respect it, surrender to the process and enjoy.

Is Bestiaire Essential TIFF Viewing?

Denis Côté is one of Canada’s best filmmakers. You should watch everything he makes. Flee to the cinema to see this during TIFF. Yes, this is totally essential TIFF viewing. Actually, this is just essential viewing period.

Bestiaire Screening Times

  • Friday, September 14 at TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 at 6:30 PM, and
  • Sunday, September 16 at TIFF Bell Lightbox 4 10:00 AM

More About This Movie

Bestiaire Trailer

Bestiaire Production Gallery