Alexandre Larose

What will be, will be
Experimental filmmaker lets intuition guide his choices

Self-portrait by Alexandre Larose Self-portrait by Alexandre Larose

When he dropped a camera off the top of Place Ville Marie, Alexandre Larose finally felt released.

The act marked the culmination of a film project the Abitibi-born MFA student  had been working on for years, based on a recurring dream he'd had had in his early 20s of falling face-up. Was the dream connected to the brushes with death Larose had when he was a teenager? He still wonders what it would be like to remember what happened during the downhill ski accident that crushed both legs, ending at 14 any dream of being an elite athlete, or during the car crash three years later.

Or was the recurring dream related to his fascination with movement, which led him to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Sherbrooke?  Always very good in science at school, it was a natural fit as a career. At least, he thought so; it wasn't until he'd done a few internships that he realized engineering was not a fit for him.

Larose opted for a fresh start in a field about which he knew little: filmmaking. He'd found an old super8mm camera in a pawn shop and had enjoyed experimenting with it.

"I felt free," he remembers.  "I was in open territory. I didn't know much about filming -- it was liberating."
Supporting himself on engineering contracts, he completed the Concordia's bachelor program in film production in 2006 and is now pursuing graduate studies. Proving as strong a student in the arts as science, his scholarships and fellowships include the 2012 Festival des Films du Monde John O'Brien Graduate Award, which he received last summer after completing his second MFA year at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema with the highest GPA.

Larose has more than book smarts: The 60-plus screenings of his half-dozen, mostly experimental works in curated programs and film festivals from Canada to Korea and in between attest to his talent.

No expectations

While Larose has high expectations of himself, he doesn't of his projects. He wants the outcome to be unpredictable - that's why he favours working with technologies, such as film, that don't allow him to control the final product, and without a pre-set narrative: he wants the stories to evolve "by intuition".

Is Larose drawn to a particular theme, then? The Place Ville Marie piece probably expressed dreaming, he says, while 930 -- about a destination or goal that looks close but towards which we are physically impeded from making any progress -- likely depicted the feeling that our bodies let us down. Perhaps the underlying theme is of unrealized or thwarted potential.

Still from Brouillard- sequence#1 (35mm). Image courtesy of artist. Still from Brouillard- sequence#1 (35mm). Image courtesy of artist.

But he's putting narrative questions aside for now to focus on his research. "So far, I've been really into making films, but not so much about how to present them."

An example of his explorations to date includes the 2012 spring MFA student exhibition, Sortie, at which Larose offered a taste of the possible. His installation Round Trip, the images for which were the result of a project with former undergraduate Heather Reilly Reid, consisted of four film projectors placed in a line before a screen, through which a single roll of film threaded. Because each machine has minute variations in speed, Larose had to be present to ensure the film ran smoothly - thus making it something of a performance.

"I want the image and the set-up to make people feel the energy I've put into the work, to evoke the feeling it was done with some labour."

Story by Liz Crompton. Posted on January 8, 2013

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