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TIFF 2015 Review: Welcome to F.L.

The reason that many TIFF viewers engage with a director after the screening is because of a sense of familiarity. Simply put, they like to see themselves on screen.

What is interesting about the film Welcome to F.L. by Geneviève Dulude-De Celles is the sense of relatability. The young auteur returns to her school in Sorel-Tracy and receives access into the lives of the students currently attending and set to graduate. The school is about an hour east of Montreal.

So far, sounds familiar, right? Like The Class or Moneiur Lazhar or the Up Series by Michael AApted.

But there is something so uncanny about Welcome to F.L. that does not feel as though it captures the universal high school experience. This feature is not to its detriment, in fact, quite the opposite. It signifies a sense of place suggested by the “Welcome” of the title.

Simply put, each student captured by Dulude-De Celles  has a similar look and image that feels somehow of his or her own place. They do not resemble students from Ontario, nor even a cirriculum from Montreal. Each one is very much of this time and especially of this place.

The images captured by the director and the apoor privately downbeat soundtrack assist in telling an appropriate narrative. But the film is both universal and exceptionally specific.

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