When the movie director Jean Claude Lauzon died in a plane crash over northern Quebec, his death was noted in a two-sentence paragraph accompanied by a small photograph in the local newspaper. In the photograph he looks like the actor in his first film, Night Zoo—handsome, with pale skin and thick, dark eyebrows and hair. In Lauzon's second and last film, Léolo, the thirteen-year-old boy of the title denies his Quebecois birth by dreaming that his mother was impregnated by an Italian tomato. Perhaps this explains Lauzon's exotic appearance.
I may be reading too much of the artist into his art, but Lauzon's films were his life. In Léolo, he provided the voice-over narration that speaks his thirteen-year-old protagonist's thoughts, and his voice is bronze and fluid; intimate. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to make love to him, although his films show an ambivalence toward sexuality: a boy cuts a makeshift vulva out of a chunk of liver and humps it; two boys copulate with an obese prostitute; a boy penetrates a domestic cat on a bet.
The imagery of water and flesh, both sacred and sexual, recurs throughout Lauzon's films. At the end of Night Zoo, the son strips his father and washes his naked body, lingering as he gently sponges his father's olive skin. In Léolo, the boy dreams of finding a treasure chest at the bottom of his wading pool, but finally goes mad and is left floating in a shallow tub in a government institution. I like to imagine that Lauzon crashed his plane into a frozen lake and didn't struggle as it cracked through the ice and sank into the placid, cold waters.
I imagine that the plane is still there; to raise it to the surface would be like waking someone from a dark, erotic dream to face the sterile light of day.