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Canadian Film Institute
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Monsieur Taurins
dir. Alexander Hahn
Latvia, 2011, 93 minutes
Latvian, French, with English sub-titles

Bright Nights: The 3rd Baltic-Nordic Film Festival
Auditorium, 395 Wellington St., Thursday, February 28, 2013, 7:00 pm

Alexander Hahn, director of the celebrated Latvian film Midsummer Madness, returns with a quirky and heartfelt road movie in Monsieur Taurins. This quiet — and at times intimate — character study successfully reproduces a substance-over-style, low-budget documentary tone to examine the life of its curious protagonist, Gunar Taurins (played with restrained eclecticism by Gundars Abolins). When Gunar travels to France, hired to find a suitable property for a wealthy friend’s new home, his impulsive, bumbling habits and uncanny ability to run into bad luck leads him into crossing paths with a string of unusual characters who are just as flawed — and unsettlingly real. As a tragi-comic hero, Taurins may not be a particularly likeable character — nor is he meant to be — but rather serves as an excellent cautionary figure in these turbulent economic times.