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Polytechnique, 2009 – ★★★★★

Spoilers follow.

It matters because it happened. It matters because it’s too easy to forget. Or to never have known.

Knowing what I know now, and what I think few realized then, I find this even more chilling. In his manifesto, the killer said he was “rather backward-looking by nature.” That’s the palingenetic yearning for a mythic past which permeates the fascist currents of our age, fueling incels and nationalists alike. No coincidence that the killer attacked a university which was educating students in ways he hated.

But that’s the event. What about the movie?

Early on, Valérie interviews for an internship. The professor notes that women don’t usually go in for mechanical engineering, because it’s hard for mechanical engineers to find time to have children.

Midway through the movie, Jean-François returns to the classroom where the killer shot the first of his victims. He sees nine women dead on the floor, because he didn’t help them. He flees in guilt.

Further on, we flash back to that scene in the classroom. This time it’s Valérie’s perspective. She’s wounded, but alive. She’s too afraid — rightly — to see if the person who just returned to the room is the killer. 

Men seeing women through the lens of their own preconceptions.

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