Polytechnique. 2009. Canada. Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Before making the Academy Award–nominated Incendies, director Denis Villeneuve explored similar themes of violence and grace with Polytechnique, a film that deserves to be better known in the U.S. In 1989, a decade before Columbine, the unthinkable happened in Montreal: a 25-year-old gunman entered the École Polytechnique with a rifle and killed 14 female students. Villeneuve’s dispassionate black-and-white film, the director’s third, serves as a compelling memorial of sorts for the victims, and describes what followed for the survivors. The film won 10 Canadian Genie Awards in 2010, including Best Film and the top awards for directing, screenplay, cinematography, editing, and performance by an actress.

Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film.