A man tells his former lover about his run-ins with left-wing terrorists trying to stop the rise of an influential junk radio.

First feature films are the perfect place to experiment with freedom. After refreshing This House, Mistral Spatial, Farador, Jour de merde and Phi 1618, it’s the turn of the film Les pas d’allure, by Alexandre Leblanc, to rave as the seventh art in Quebec rarely does.

However, it is not very palpable on the narrative level. The scenario smacks of full-on improvisation and it pushes open doors in terms of commitment and ideologies. His cynicism and irony are not the most subtle, while his dialogues can lack naturalness.

The story that won an audience award at Fantasia last summer, however, has this rare ability to return to the essence of cinema, which is to tell stories. By rehashing his amazing adventures, the narrator (Jean-Sébastien Courchesne) recalls the need for creation, both to spice up his exploits and to win back his ex (Sophie Desmarais). It goes through incredible detours with an amateur theater troupe and the existence of a hallucinogenic vinyl record capable of brainwashing the population.

This fantasy is expressed by the director who gives himself to his heart’s content, mixing the most discordant genres, be it satire, romance, science fiction and paranoid suspense. It’s playful and psychotronic at the same time, tinged with a cartoonist aesthetic that offers its share of magical escapes and even a fight scene. We think of Olivier Godin who would have fun revisiting Scott Pilgrim.

Filmmaker Alexandre Leblanc comes from editing – notably on Jeune Juliette and Prank – and he does not hesitate to explode the form. Above all, he knows how to surround himself well, whether it’s Peter Venne who offers a catchy soundtrack, Vincent Biron who co-signs a superb black and white photo direction with Alessandro LoBianco, and all his actors who play in the tone.

As much a singular and offbeat experience as a tenuous and repetitive proposition, Les pas d’allure is a unique object in our cinematography. When the imagination is in power, it is easier to forgive misbehavior.