Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 109 min
Set in Montreal during the summer of 1994, Eldorado tells the distressing tale of six members of Generation X struggling to make sense of their aimless lives. Rita (Pascale BussiPres), a street kid who rollerblades around the city stealing purses and breaking into cars, is squatting in the apartment of Roxan (Isabel Richer), a well-off twenty-five-year-old woman who takes it upon herself to feed and shelter the homeless. Lloyd (James Hyndman), a lanky and ludicrously intense shock jock, serves as something of a Greek chorus, ranting on his radio show about everything from masturbation to violence. Lloyd falls for Loulou (Macha Limonchik), a waitress at a downtown club who is looking for some excitement to spice up her relationship with liquor-store clerk Marc (Robert Brouillette). The dysfunctional ensemble is rounded out by Henriette (Pascale Montpetit), a quirky, neurotic type who delivers a series of hopelessly twisted monologues to her psychiatrist.
This is the first film in Charles Binamé’s cinéma vérité-style trilogy about life in urban Montreal as it approached the millennium, preceding Le Coeur au poing (1998) and La Beauté de Pandore (2000). The extensive use of hand-held cameras and natural lighting gives Eldorado a raw look and feel that effectively matches the subject matter. The film features strong performances from six of Quebec’s most talented young actors, who improvised their dialogue based on a story outline devised by Binamé.
Eldorado played in the Director’s Fortnight at the Festival de Cannes, where it was extremely well received, and became a box-office hit in Quebec. It was nominated for eight Genie Awards, but won none.