Canadian Film Fest ’23: Babysitter

Babysitter tells the story of Cedric (Patrick Hivon), a middle-aged man who has been suspended from work after kissing a reporter on live television. Relegated to caring for his infant daughter, Cedric decides to write a book of letters that show his repentant heart from his misogyny. However, when his girlfriend Nadine (Monia Chokri) heads off to work, Cedric hires a mysterious babysitter to take care of their child. But this babysitter’s unusual behavior upends the house in unexpected ways.

Directed by Monia Chokri, Babysitter is a wild comedy with a complex heart. By bathing the screen in lush primary colours, Chokri presents a world of clear lines and hues. Everything in this world feels crisp. However, at the same time, Chokri’s camera often contains a certain glossy haze about it that complicates what initially feels simple. 

While these two juxtopositions may seem disjointed, they also work well together to explore the blurred lines of misogyny and truth. Although Chokri is very interested in the dissemination of toxic masculinity, Babysitterrecognizes that the roots of gender politics run deep and are extremely tangled. What begins as Cedric’s apology to one woman soon begins to unravel his entire understanding of the male psyche. At the same time, Nadine’s personal struggles send her on her own journey to tear down the boundaries of cultural gender appropriation. 

In doing so though, Chokri begins to ask questions about what happens when these rules dissolve. (“I feel lost,” Cedric posits.) As lines are blurred, Babysitter appears to suggest that misogyny itself isn’t tied entirely to gender ideas but are created whenever selfishness and power enter into relationships of any time. In essence, Babysitter argues that anyone can be a misogynist, no matter the gender.

Babysitter is available at Canadian Film Fest ’23. For more information, click here.

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