Karl Lemieux became known through his experimental shorts (Mamori, IFFR 2010; Quiet Zone, co-directed with David Bryant, IFFR 2015) and his work on live performances with musicians (such as members of Jerusalem In My Heart or Godspeed You! Black Emperor). His first feature is logically rooted in both idioms but with a more straightforward narrative: 27-year-old musician Vincent is targeted by the mob after stealing drugs and goes back to his rural hometown. There he reconnects with his older, tormented brother Michel, trying to lead a normal life by playing in a hardcore band. A spiral of violence will catch both brothers.
Shot on 16mm, Shambles is a loud, almost wordless tribute to punk energy where it always comes from — the working class, boredom, urgency. Its hypnotic intensity is reminiscent of Philippe Grandrieux’s cinema. Stroboscopic effects, distorted shots, hyper-contrast black-and-white and music, of course, translating day-to-day angst into some raw nightmare.