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Ciné Franco 2019: “L’Amour”: Anatomy of a Murderous Mental Illness

Yes, we have all seen too much of this. By “this” I mean crazed killers gunning down or even running down innocent civilians in synagogues, mosques, schools, churches and on the streets.

One might venture to say all these killers are suffering from mental illness perhaps even a warped sense of fanaticism which one might say is equivalent to an obsessive-compulsive disorder which is a well-known mental illness. Or are they serious thinking and mentally stable people with a mission?

This murderous violence is particularly deadly for many of its victims and traumatic for first responders. It is also traumatic for most of the public unless of course they are sympathetic with the mentally deranged murderers. As we know that trauma affects the brain, hence the body, neither is it healthy for those that watch it on the news. However many of us have tuned out to this senseless violence. For those people it may be their brain is simply protecting them against further trauma so I don’t think it does us much good to call them heartless. For others they simply have no compassion which is also proven to be a negative for brain health.

We start the film with little Alex living in a smaller Quebec town being taught by this father to shoot a rifle. We end with young man Alex blowing his brains out with a pistol after murdering two sex offenders in Maine.

What led to the creation of this murderer Alex? I suppose it can amount to a combination of factors namely bullying at school, a father obsessed with guns and strange theories about what the strong must do to protect themselves, sexual abuse, a dysfunctional family and lastly a Maine sexual offenders registry that enables Alex to hunt down and murder two sex offenders.

So what does this have to do with L’Amour (Love). You might pick it up where Alex hints at the sexual abuse of his father yet still embraces him saying, “I love you”.  This leaves me with memories of alleged sexual abuse by Michael Jackson in the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland”. Or it might refer to the American love of firearms.

Alex’s environment appears to be the cause of his two murders. Can we show any compassion for a tortured soul? This depends how far you want to extend your limit of compassion.

This 2018 film directed by Marc Bisaillon is based on the true story of Stephen Marshall.

Pierre-Luc Lafontaine as Alex hides his pain very well.

In English and French with English subtitles. This 86-minute film shows on April 20 at 4.p.m. at Ted Rogers Hot Docs Theatre at 506 Bloor west in Toronto.

For the trailer click here

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