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Sunrise
A couple looks over the familiar vista of Mont Royal (bonjourhi.ca)

Film Review: Bonjour Hi

a/Arts & Entertainment/Film and TV by

Bonjour Hi is a multi-director film created by Sean Lee, Giuliana Mazzetta, Ben Koring, Christina Wood, and Ryan MacDowell. The movie, which was co-produced with TVM: Student Television at McGill, consists of three short film with four storylines. One of the producers, Jack Johnson, noted that the team hoped to create “an homage to the past four years” in Montreal in this 48-minute feature.

The film begins with a young man holding a guitar, inviting the viewer on an exciting day in “sunny, snowy, and always cold [Montreal]. After the title card, a new, disjointed scene begins, different from the introduction. A couple dances through an abandoned building in all-white undergarments, then the scene cuts to the same couple in bed in their apartment. Although the cinematography is beautiful, this first scene is somewhat vague; and since it has no dialogue, lacks real substance. The silence of the scene suggests a language barrier between the couple, which would relate to the film’s title. It’s also uncertain whether the movie will follow this silent couple for the next 48 minutes, but when the couple parts on a street corner at the end of the scene, it is evident that Bonjour Hi plans on sharing more stories.

The young man from before the title card shows up with his guitar yet again; an ever-present troubadour amongst the hustle and bustle of the youthful people of Montreal. The next scene follows two young men in a cafe, where one of them makes countless jokes about the “fair trade” trend that defines Montreal’s eateries. Comedy ensues as the man grills the barista on the facts and follies of fair trade coffee and rips pages out of a Jack Kerouac novel he claims to hate. This hilarious, well-timed scene left the audience hankering for more of the push and pull dynamic of the two young men, but, alas, more of Montreal must be explored.

A new story continues in the same cafe, following a woman distressed over missing an interview. The film’s title comes into clever play as the barista greets the woman with the common Montreal greeting, “Bonjour, Hi.” The film cleverly incorporates the city’s bilingualism, showing the woman and barista speaking French, but the woman texting her friend in English. Once the woman leaves the cafe, the scene takes a unique turn, as the woman enters an impromptu silent dance party. The scene turns into a dance number, and added colour adjustment shows the brightness that can appear on a snowy day in Montreal.

The last scene is much like the first: A montage of a couple’s adventure. But this time, a girl narrates the scene, reminiscing about getting to know the city and how her time in the city has come to an end. The montage shows the silent wonders of Montreal—climbing up Mont Royal, eating poutine at the top, watching the sunrises, and tobogganing down it in the snow.The film ends as it begins, welcoming the audience to say “Bonjour Hi” to the next chapter. This interesting repetition creates a sort of nostalgia that mimics the film’s portrayal of nostalgia for living in Montreal.

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