Film screening: Social Hygiene


From 25 May 2021




Garage Screen summer cinema
Film screening: Social HygieneFilm screening: Social Hygiene


Petty thief, writer, and failed filmmaker Antonin, who sleeps in a friend’s car, is striving to understand himself by meeting with five women—his sister Solveig, wife Eglantine, love interest Cassiopée, tax inspector Rose, and theology student Aurore, from whom he stole a laptop. Canadian chameleon-director Denis Côté continues to freely experiment with form, making a witty comedy about distance, relationships, and alienation this time around, whereby the present-day shifts into an indefinite, abstract past, nature turns into a stage, and impressionist cinematography merges with theatrical setup. Premiered internationally at this year’s Berlinale, Social Hygiene shared the Best Director award in the Encounters competition.  

Dressed in period costumes, the protagonists of this surrealist comedy stand about ten meters apart in the midst of endless landscapes and maintain social distance even during a fight. Speaking an ironically old-fashioned language and using bookish intonations brought to the point of absurdity, their names make one recall classical literature. The edges of the space they inhabit are blurred, reminiscent of an impressionist painting. The only non-archaic character is the theft victim Aurore, wearing modern clothes and dancing to the darkwave band Lebanon Hanover. Given that Côté’s previous film Wilcox (2019) was wordless, there is a strange logic in the fact that the new one is entirely based on dialogues, or rather, coined verbal (love) duels, the mise-en-scenes of which resemble Western shootouts.

Like other films referencing France’s theatrical heritage, for example, Abdellatif Kechiche’s Games of Love and Chance (2003) about Marivaux’s play The Game of Love and ChanceSocial Hygiene emphasizes modern society’s problems, especially its all-permeating misogyny, through the prism of a sitcom. Starring Maxim Gaudette, known for playing a misogynist gunman in Denis Villeneuve’s Polytechnique (2009), here he portrays, almost without close-ups, a desperate and lost man who nervously gestures and most of the time cannot even look women in the eyes, but with the last of his strength clings to his imagined ego and pipe dreams.

The film will be screened in French with Russian subtitles.

Social Hygiene
Dir. Denis Côté
Canada, 2021. 75 min. 16+


Standard: 400 rubles
Student: 300 rubles*


GARAGE cardholders: 200 RUB.

Tickets for seniors, veterans, large families, under 18s, and visitors with disabilities (with one carer): 200 RUB**

We recommend that you buy tickets in advance. All ticket categories are available online.

* Students aged 18–25 on production of relevant ID
** Please show proof of eligibility at the cinema entrance