Cosmos
Chance Encounters, Past & Present
in a City
Outline

Cosmos as an example of postmodern city
in flows
– Friends: unstable relations, relative ethical
values
– Chance encounters: differences among the
three generations;
– Technology and spaces of flow
– The linking person: Cosmos
 Canadian films in the 21st Century?
[Cosmos (1997)]
INTRODUCTION OF
THE SIX EPISODES

Between two
genders, two friends

Chance
Encounter 
among 3 generations

THE CITY & ITS
LURKING DANGERS

TECHONOLOGY vs.
Agriculture
THEMES:
THE LINKING
PERSON--- COSMOS
INTRODUCTION OF THE SIX EPISODES
Why is the movie “black and white?”
BOOST
Yannie, Joel
THE TECHNETIUM
Morille, Tekno
A. BOOST
Yannie, Jeo l
JULES AND FANNY
Fanny, a lawyer, her exboyfriend (Jules/Julien)
AURORE AND
CREPUSCULE
Dawn, Dusk
L’ INDIVIDUL
The killer
COSMOS AND
AGRICULTURE
Cosmos, Janvier
Between
two genders, two friends
COMMON THEME (1):


Gender relationship “Jules and Fanny”
How do the ex-lovers deal with the issue of
enlarged breasts? Is the issue of work ethics
involved? (clips 14, 15, 16, 17)
Jules
-- Worried about the death of
the matter
-- skillful ways of looking at
women’s breasts.
-- Want to have sex with F
Fanny
-- “new breasts” and “new
body”; present partner =
future ex-husband
-- stripping is what matters
-- Does she compromise
her ethics?—almost.
“Jules and Fanny”


Jules: theoretical
– Has a dream about being turned to nothing (because 1) we are
composed of atoms; 2) he is chased by 30-hit man, then hit by a
plane.)
– criticize contemporary pursuit of ‘fake’ things
– about the art of nudity
– is not frank about what he really wants to do.
– Alexis Martin (plays Michel in No)
Fanny: pragmatic but feminist
– assertive (e.g. her ways of responding to her boyfriend clip 4),
with dubious sense of morality.
– Eclectic: about the professional ethics of lawyer (Mr. Ethic
double-crossed his handicapped client I’d never sell my body
for that;
– about making love to an ex. (If you mean it, I’ll follow)
– Upset about Jules’ intention, baring her breasts to Janvier
(revealed at the end).
Between two
genders, two friends
THEME (1):
Boost – Yanni and Joel, younger
 Comic view at the terrifying situation: What’s
funny? What’s sad?

– Funny – the car, their way of entertaining
themselves,Yannie: throws away a cross
and then picks it up again (clip 2)
Boost – results from the Clinic
at 2:00
Sad – Yannie
-- “homosexuals are a protected race.”
-- aware of being HIV positive, the car dead again
-- remembers his past, unhappy about both the past
and afraid of the present (thinks he has “it”—AIDS)
temporary escape: “won’t go”  biting his lip (no
point in thinking positive when he is “negative”)
-- Car dead again.  meaning?
Common THEME (2): Chance
Encounters & Generations
– e.g. (1) THE TECHNETIUM


post-Eldorado generation (clips 11,12)
Morille – very nervous; images of the orient
(Ginseng) and wars (Cambodia North Korea).
 Tekno: Internet youth culture
– Hair gel, fast-beat music connected with
commercials (hair cut and hair gel), audience from
everywhere.
– Cyberdog (post-hallucinatory)
– Questions showing a lack of understanding and
concern with appearance. (e.g. like or unlike
another band, with post-punk travel fun, or with hip
and pulse
 Rebellion with a razor
Common THEME (2): Chance Encounters –
Differences among the 3 GENERATIONS

How are the younger generations presented
in this film? (e.g. “Technitium” “Dawn and
Dusk” “Cosmos and Agriculture”
 Techno: superficial, rapid-paced
 two-minute interview
 Emphasis on appearance (hair)
 Care about instant fame (e.g. Cyberdog)
 “Dawn and Dusk” “Cosmos & Agriculture” -Playful and Competitive “sometimes”
Irresponsible
Common THEME (2): Chance Encounters –
Differences among the 3 GENERATIONS

“Dawn and Dusk” (clips 19, 20) uncertain
about relationship and the future
 (also
Yanni and Joel)
 Dawn: angry at her boyfriend; does not feel
belong in this competitive society
Romanticize the old man as a wise man
 Dusk: marriage as association (50-year
marriage)
 “Don’t tempt the devil” massage Dawn’s foot
ambiguous ending.
THEME (2):
RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN THE 3 GENERATIONS
Youth



Yanni & Joel,
Dawn & her
boyfriend
• 30’s - 40’s
50’s – 60’s
• Fanny & Jules
•Dusk
• Morille
• Serial killer
Web station
Minorities:
Javier
Cosmos
Common THEME (3):
THE CITY & its
LURKING DANGERS


Characteristics of Montreal presented
– Fluidity--- urban setting: hotel, subway, apartment
building for rent, roads, suburban wilderness
(Mont Royal),
– chance encounters
– the youngsters’ Aimlessness and nostalgia
– Fast Pace & Rootlessness – no one is shown at
home.
Lurking Dangers Vulnerable groups (women
& children) (“Individul”)
– Sense of suspense and fear in the subway,
bathroom, department store, and apartment.
– Danger not understandable  e.g. gaps in the film;
clips 6, 7
TECHONOLOGY vs.
agriculture
THEME (3):
Are all the city’s problems caused, as
Javier puts it, by 1. Seasons, 2.
“Agriculture”?
 The role of machines and technologies in
this film
– Cars and subway
– Breast enlargement
– Video and internet in “Technitium” 
Instant transmission of messages by the
web station, empty of content

THE LINKING PERSON--COSMOS

Two other links: Dawn as a coffee shop waitress
(tries to stop Morille from drinking too much), Antoine as a hotel
waiter (sees the conflict in Jules between his intellect and his
“material aspirations”)

IMPORTANCE OF COSMOS & HIS ROLE
– ASSOCIATION with all the other characters (clips
1, 4, 7, 11, 21)
– HIS PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE (23) –connecting the
negative with the negative, the positive with the
positive
– The final episode – what do you think about his
response? (24, 25) not a closer look; not kill (the
thieves)
“Canadian” Films
Two Solitudes – Two Great Divides
– Francophone (Quebecois): national identity expressed
symbolically through gender, father-son relations,
religion or language use (e.g. No);
– Anglophone films – the use of media (camera, photo,
etc.)
– Hollywood North
 (underdog; non-heroic, victim) identity + sex
 Communication – mediated, difficult but group unification
and support is necessary (Garrison Mentality)
 Popular ≠ Canadian? Not now. “…success in Canadian film
is generally defined as failure to be popular, while popular
success tends to make the “Canadianness” of a film
invisible to the canon of Canadian national cinema. ” (Pike;
source)

Which of the following are Canadians?
Dan Aykroyd
Jim Carrey
MICHAEL J.
FOX
Keanu Reeve
Captain Kirk
ALANIS
MORISSETTE k.d. Lang
Celine Dion
Paul Anka, Neil Young,
Peter Jennings . . .
Megan Follow as
Anne of Green Gables
Pamela
Anderson Lee
The Indistinguishable?
Hollywood North



捍衛機密Johnny Mnemonic (1995):
Toronto and Montreal filling in for Newark,
New Jersey and Beijing.
我的希臘婚禮 My Big Fat Greek
Wedding(2002) – Using Toronto (Greek
town, Danforth Ave) for location shots, the
movie was set in Chicago.
“The first wave of Canadian features was
devoted to Canada itself; the second wave
was heavily focused on [crossing] the two
divides.” (source)
The Indistinguishable? Or the
multiple/fluid identities
Mia Kirshner – Christina in Exotica;
Elizabeth Short in The Black Dahlia
(2006) ....
 Sarah Polly – Lisa in Exotica, Dawn of
the Dead (活人生吃2004), Selma in
Beowulf & Grendel
Director of Away from her (Alice Munro’s
short story)
 Don McKellar – Thomas in Exotica,
Vernon in Clean (2004錯的多美麗),
director of Last Night, Childstar,

Directors from Montreal vu par
“Crossing” in the past and present






Jacques Leduc (Canvas of Time)
Patricia Rozema ("Desperanto")  Mermaid, When
Night is Falling, Mansfield Park, etc.
Michel Brut (The Last Game)  Mon amie Max
Léa Pool ("Rispondetemi")  Set Me Free, The Blue
Butterfly
Atom Egoyan ("En passant")  Exotica, The Adjuster,
《意外的春天》( The Sweet Hereafter), 《赤裸真相》
(Where the Truth Lies) etc.
Denys Arcand (View from Elsewhere); Decline of the
American Empire, Love & Human Remains, Stardom,
The Barbarian Invasions
The Six Directors in Cosmos






Jennifer Alleyn ("Aurore & Crépuscule")—TV
series
* Manon Briand ("Boost") Chaos and Desire, etc.
Marie-Julie Dallaire ("Individu, L'") -- 0
* Arto Paragamian ("Cosmos & Agriculture")-Two Thousand and None
* André Turpin ("Jules & Fanny") --Soft Shell
Man
* Denis Villeneuve ("Technétium, Le")–
Maelström (FJ)
More to come …

In the Cities (看不見的城市), starring Robert
Lepage, etc. 台北電影節
 Chacun son cinéma -- To Each his Cinema
(Egoyan, David Cronenberg, Ming-liang Tsai,
Kar-wei Wang, etc.)
 More to come at Fu Jen.
Reference

Across the Great Divide Canadian Popular
Cinema in the 21st Century David L. Pike
<http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/56/canad
a.htm >
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[Cosmos (1997)]