A lonely bus stop, a trumpet-playing scout and a woman who refuses to pay him anything for his off-tune performance. This dryly humorous opening sets the tone for rest of the film which tells the story of Vic, a woman who has just been released from prison and who is on the hunt for some peace and quiet. She moves into a relative’s house in the Canadian forest and receives a visit from her lover, Flo.
The two of them take each day as it comes, exploring the countryside in a golf cart and enjoying the scenery. Life could be so wonderful—if only Vic’s rather unconventional probation officer wouldn’t keep turning up. Vic also finds her girlfriend’s sorties to local bars unsettling. A friendly woman in the neighbourhood, a gardener, soon turns out to be a shadow from the past; signs of impending threat begin to multiply and even the forest seems to have treacherous traps in store.
With his film’s collection of eccentric characters, his bizarre directing ideas and the work’s mysterious atmosphere, film critic and documentary/drama director Denis Côté creates an artificial world with its own completely unpredictable reality.
"Denis Côté flirts with Sundancey material but emerges with his integrity intact. (Ruthlessly intact). Think THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, but with very sharp teeth." —Kevin Lee, Indiewire
Berlin Film Festival, Alfred Bauer Silver Bear Prize
Palm Springs International film Festival
First Look, Museum of the Moving Image
Nashville Film Festival
Austin Fantastic Film Festival
The Philadelphia Film Festival
Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival
AFI Festival, Los Angeles
San Francisco Film Society French Cinema Now Festival
"Vic and Flo are hunted by a freakiness that sails in the air. Côté makes up a world for them, an uneasy reality that hides unpredictability marked with black humor." —Anna Bielak, FILM Magazine
"A gleefully nasty piece of work." —Gary Kramer, Philadelphia Gay News
"The sumptuous 35mm cinematography is as gritty as its subject matter and Côté displays a very keen eye for mise-en-scène, constructing unobtrusive yet carefully composed shots that inject beauty even in the bleakest of scenarios. The film’s greatest accomplishment, however, is its characterizations. Equal credit goes to Côté’s writing and to the performances of Pierrette Robitaille and Romane Bohringer as Vic and Flo for realizing such complex and convincing characters." —Giovanni Marchini Camia, Film Comment
"Côté’s language is far more fluid (though he’s also not one to shy away from jolting cuts—why are we looking at a flock of bicyclists? why suddenly this angry face with its bulging eyeballs?), slyly shifting the viewer’s perception of what’s actually going down within or between scenes. Côté toys with sympathies, pulling the rug out from under us every few beats—and then there’s the ending, which threw me for a loop and lost several other viewers altogether." —David Hudson, Keyframe
"Gradually, VIC + FLO SAW A BEAR takes on the air of a dark fairy tale with touches of the absurd — a shift in tone that might have seemed ridiculous, but which Côté deploys so effortlessly that we gladly follow, over the river and through the woods to a place where the brothers Grimm and the brothers Coen seem to collide." —Scott Foundas, The Village Voice