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  • To me, 'Léolo' is like a rare gemstone. A unique, surreal fairytale, which you can look at from many different angles and yet it remains hard to describe. Although there clearly is a structured narrative, I believe this film is more to be felt than understood. While it's often tragic and disturbing, it's also very funny and darkly comic. Somehow fitting for a story inspired by childhood memories, reality and fantasy are seamlessly interwoven to create an often dream-like, sometimes nightmarish atmosphere.

    This was only director Jean-Claude Lauzon's second film, and sadly he never got to make more than two; he died in a plane crash while he was preparing his third film.

    A beautiful, unforgettable work of art, albeit not one for the easily offended.

    My vote: 10 out of 10

    Favorite films: http://www.IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/

    Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

    Favorite Low-Budget and B-movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054808375/

    Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075552387/
  • This is one of the few movies that left me mystified. Was it trying to create only mood (however unpleasant), was it trying to convey a deep message (however obscure), was it trying to show that there is squalor in modern Montreal (however unsurprising)? All of these? None of these? Why was this movie made?

    A boy is coming of age in a totally dysfunctional family. The parents are obsessed with bodily functions - the father checks the boy's output after each visit to the toilet; all five children are forced to take laxatives. If you see dark humor in this, then you may like this movie. I'm afraid the humor flew over my head.

    We see rats in the sink, rats in the bathtub. In one scene, that I assume is to have some special meaning, we see at some length a filthy turkey in the bathtub. What's the meaning of that? And what an inspiring thing it is to see a young boy having sex with a cat.

    I felt like taking a shower after watching this movie.

    The boy, Léolo, finds his family so difficult to deal with that he escapes into dreams, fantasy, and writing. Maybe understandably, most everyone in this family winds up going nuts or heading toward death.

    The music is a grab bag. There is a mixture of things like Tom Waits' "Cold Cold Ground," Tallis' "Spem in Allum," the Stones' "You can't always get what you want," and chanting.

    Much of the movie is told in a voice-over and sections of the novel "L'avalée des avallés" by the Canadian Réjean DuCharme are read - this is a book that Léolo is reading and it is the only book in his house. A recurring quote is, "Because I dream, I'm not." I think the idea behind that is that we dream to escape reality, but your guess is as good as mine.

    I have to give this movie credit for coming out of nowhere to give us something like we have never seen before, but that doesn't mean that we will like it. Sometimes there is a fine balance between art and pretension and, for me, this movie weighs in on the pretension side.
  • Which came first, the disturbing or the disturbed? This is a difficult film for me to assay. Certainly I did not enjoy "Leolo" but then there are many films I have appreciated which I did not enjoy. Despite being tagged as such, this film was never a comedy for me, outlandish scenes too often were tainted by a ring of tragic truth. Well, I should clarify and say "at least an emotional truth."

    This film reminded me of Baudelaire and Rabelais. I remember in my late teens, seeking out those poets feeling that I should appreciate them from the little I had heard about them. Someone probably mentioned Iggy Pop in the same breath with 'em. Anyways, their poems never did connect with me, I remember thinking that something in translation or in the transatlantic crossing was lost upon me. This film has many moments like that (despite a shorter journey down from Canada), but cast amidst shining gems of genius. One example, the recurrent use of the refrigerator light, and other illumination, shining over Leolo's shoulder.

    This film slips and dips into the "rabelaisian" in the reduced definition, i.e. a fecal focus. A childhood is deprived more than depraved, but a little of both. If any sexual appetite is offensive for you, than this film is not for you... Spend your time on some counseling instead.

    And yet for me, much of the film was grotesque...and I think that's a nearly perfect word for it, what with its stylish franco-suffix... gracefully covering over its seamier stewings. Like a sauce over spoiled meat.

    But as I think more about this film: the merd, the bugs, the dead dog in the canal...all of that waste, is not wasted. Instead the images, the reviling of an earthly existence drive us off the screen and into the voiced-over poetry of Leolo. Even in translation and subtitle, the words had a precise beauty. A beauty I feel was intentionally and successfully accented by the sordid scenarios stitched together.

    It would be an interesting test for someone to read the poetry from the screenplay first and then watch the film. Would the words be strong enough without the sights, sounds and implied smells of Leolo's world to suffice?

    While I cannot honestly recommend this film (too many times I found myself hoping that a fade-to-black was final), it would be interesting to hear/read others' comments. I'll come back to the reviews here, and maybe the film in the future.

    Til' then, I 'll give it a 6/10

    PS Interesting. In posting my review the "s-word" now appears to be banned...so let them read "merd."
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Léolo" is one of the best unknown films of the 90's. It is regarded in some quarters as the very best French-Canadian film ever made. It is a triumphant and devastating picture that will leave you haunted by its images and sounds and reflecting on its characters and events for a long time after you see it. The title character is the adolescent Léolo, wondrously played by Montréal's Maxime Collin, who has kind of a cult following among the young there, is the youngest member of a dysfunctional family living in Montréal in the fifties.

    His real name is Leon Lauzon, but he mock-Italianizes it to Léolo Lozone, because he wants to be Italian. It is the private escape from family misery for this sensitive youth who loves to read and fantasize. He fantasizes that he was born after his mother had been impregnated by a Sicilian tomato, because an Italian had ejaculated into it. His sister Nanette is near-catatonic, his sister Rita communicates with insects. Daddy administers laxatives to the family members as though he were passing out the Eucharist. He examines his kids' feces in the toilet, just to make sure they have pooped well. They are more in than out of a mental institution.

    During the course of the film, young Léolo drools over the buxom Sicilian girl living next door, attempts to kill his grandfather because he blames him for all the family's problems. Big brother Fernand gets into body-building after being roughed-up by a neighborhood bully, but the muscles do not transform his timid coward's heart. The scene where this wimpy Atlas is beaten and humiliated before Léolo's eyes is one of the most poignant scenes I've seen in nearly sixty years of movie-going. Léolo's mother, a corpulent earth-mother, played by French-Canadian singer Ginette Reno, is the only anchor of sanity.

    There are scenes in this movie which shock or make us uneasy and the movie caused an uproar in some quarters. We see some childhood sexual experimentation, leather-coated adolescents tormenting a cat in a sick ritual, a prostitute masturbating two young boys in the ruins of a demolished building. Léolo masturbates himself using a piece of liver...which his mom later cooks up for the family dinner.

    Out of all this bizarre material, director Jean-Claude Lauzon, who died since the making of this masterpiece, has fashioned a complex, mesmerizing work of art that is semi-autobiographical, and at once a labor of love and virtuosic skill. The acting, the photography, the use of camera movement, the evocative use of an enormous variety of music that includes everything from Buddhist chants to Tom Waits, the thrilling poetic transitions are all of such an imaginative height as to make thousands of other movies from the same period seem puny by comparison. "Léolo" has often been viewed as a kinky comedy. While there are indeed elements of that, it really needs to be seen for what it really is: a shattering family drama of truly lyric force.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What an odd story. It was a good one for the first two-thirds of the film but the last third got so sick - at least to me and what little standards I possess, it lost favor with me. I got rid of it for that reason: overall - just too sick and too strange.

    It gets ugly because a 12-year-old kid, whom the story is centered around, starts to lose it. He tries to kill his uncle, begins using way too much profanity, and says and does things that no 12-year-old boy would say/do. The story just gets out of hand. Everyone in this film except the boy's mother is very odd with most of them winding up in a mental institution. I often laugh at dark humor but this is way too black, way too dark.

    People think Hollywood is morally bankrupt....well, the rest of the world, especially in the film-making business, is worse and this is a prime example.
  • Echoes of the magnificent THE TIN DRUM reverberate through the stunning, lyrical French-Canadian LEOLO.

    The late Jean-Claud Lauzon's masterwork filters a dysfunctional family through the eyes of a dreamer who imagines himself to be Italian.

    The film is filled with gorgeous cinematic studies of childhood cruelty, sexual abuse, eccentricity, first love, first self-love, insanity, obsession, unusual uses for meat products, and familial bonds.

    As Leolo, Maxime Collin is without peer, delivering a truly amazing performance as a young boy on a difficult journey of discovery and exploration.

    A wonderful Tom Waits cue anchors the soundtrack and eccentric supporting performances bring vivid color to the drama.

    The film is photographed and directed with such amazing precision and passion that you can not help but be propelled by it.

    In every sense an original, emotional work, and one of the best films ever made.

    An obscure modern classic.
  • I found this movie on a used VHS tape the other day and decided to check it out since it was a Canadian production.

    Man, I can't decide whether I love or hate this movie. It's just plain weird! Sometimes it had me laughing (like in the beginning with the tomato, later when Leolo trades his flies for his sister's turd, etc); And then sometimes I was totally grossed out (like the cat scene). And the raw meat incident was sick, then later hilarious when it got served for dinner. There's definitely some "toilet" humour throughout this film.

    Almost always I watch movies for enjoyment and I try not to analyse too much because it often spoils my enjoyment. But I've noticed some really deep analysis from previous reviewers regarding this film. And honestly, some of it is way too deep for me. (Maybe I'm the ignorant savage in the art museum.).

    I wouldn't really class this movie as a comedy although it has some humorous scenes (very dark humour). I'd say this movie was more like a trip through a mental institution. It is a very haunting movie and I did find myself reflecting on it every so often for a while. It's a thinker for sure. It seemed sensitive, but in a very harsh way.

    Acting was very good in my opinion. Any actor who can pull off roles like the ones in this movie has to be good.

    Normally, I'm not fond of narration. But for some reason it didn't seem to bother me in this film. It sort of fit in better I guess.

    This movie could freak out a lot of people. It's really worth watching, but not for young kids. I gave it 8 out of 10 because it was well acted, made me think on it, and it was certainly unique. Also I respect a person who goes against the flow to make something original.
  • ColeSear11 April 2000
    I caught this late one night on the Independent film channel i caught the first few minutes and was amazed when i had finally seen the whole thing I loved it rarely have i seen a more poetic or brilliantly told portrait of any person young or old personified on screen the film is French-Canadian but transcends language Maxime Collin's performance is stellar. The voice over narration adds just the right element to the film. It is often funny, dramatic, heart wrenching and odd in the same breath and enjoyable throughout. Leolo is a film that is a rarity and most definitely a can't miss.
  • I absolutely adore this movie.

    I first saw it with a group of friends at the local college town art cinema when it was first released. When it ended, hardly anyone in the theater even stirred, slowly and quietly rising only after the credits ran out. Afterwards, we went for drinks, as had been the plan for the evening, but it took a long time for us to break out of the film's spell and begin to really talk. When we finally did, each of us was relieved to find that everyone else had been as moved by it as each had individually.

    The reason for all this doubt and anxiety, I believe, is the film itself. It doesn't rely on any conventions at all, nor does it allow the viewer to respond via convention. What it does do is provide the viewer with an intensely private view of the characters. You get to see them in broad daylight at times and on occasions where one would most want to be absolutely alone. Because of this willingness to really expose its characters, a more honest self-relation is demanded in response and for a response. (In this respect in reminds me a bit of Milan Kundera's novels, during the reading of which I often find myself embarrassed for the characters that I am there intruding on their privacy.) I think what myself and my friends (then still young adults) feared was revealing something about ourselves--a kind of fragility and ambivalence in one's own self-relation that one normally represses, but which this film repeatedly draws to the surface. Wouldn't admitting that one was moved by these characters be also an admission that one could relate to them in some more profound way? Yes, and I have felt just a little bit less alone in the world since seeing Leolo. Not better perhaps, but less alone.

    A truly great, great movie. Rent it on VHS, grab a Canadian DVD off of Ebay, or pester IFC to show it again (record it because you'll want to see it again), but don't miss it.
  • Wonderful sad film about the tragedy of a sensitive soul in conflict with a society that is brutal, vulgar, and obscene. One of the most unusual films ever made-- daring and audacious, and richly rewarding. And the Tom Waits songs on the sound track are just right for this movie: melancholy and off-beat.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Be forewarned that there is a shocking scene late in the movie in which a live cat is abused "for the sake of"--art, the film, the story, whatever.

    I patiently watched the movie up to the cat scene, appreciating some of the interesting approach to storytelling and some of the beautifully shot imagery. I kept hoping for some creative resolution or development in the story, but the movie seemed to slowly degenerate instead into a series of self-indulgent and unnecessarily destructive scenes and sub-plots. By the time the cat scene appeared I was already pretty fed up with the "I'm wallowing in filth and I want you to wallow in it with me" approach the director seemed to take (with a beautiful, poetic gloss to lure the viewer into this bait-and-switch movie), so it was an easy decision to turn the DVD off at that point with no regrets other than to wish the director had not felt it necessary to abuse a live animal and film the animal's obvious pain and panic for the sake of the enjoyment? titillation? of a human audience.

    Although I can't dispute the movie creator's talent (I feel he should get 8-9 stars for creative talent, 2-3 stars for abusing that talent), I was very disappointed with this go-nowhere, self-indulgently grotesque movie.
  • lifeinfilm-128 April 2005
    10/10
    Dreamer
    'I loved Fernand for his ignorance...because I dream I am not' I watched Leolo again on IFC few nights ago (after what is now more then ten years when I first saw it in a theater) and realized that this film was one of the catalysts for my entrance into the world of cinema. To be part of the film industry is very much, I believe, to dream big. The moment I stop dreaming I would seize to exist. Like Leolo said 'because I don't dream, I am not'. An essential tool for dreaming may be the hardship in having to deal with misunderstood reality. Or possibly being misunderstood all together. Psychological torment and trying to make sense out of situations we find ourselves in, status quo, or sympathy for the world which regardless of our actions keeps going it's own path leaves an artist in constant turmoil. I feel i have so much in common with Leolo that I fear of my own 'death' as a dreamer. Still, just seeing 'Leolo' gives comfort and lesson that once you stop dreaming...life of an artist seizes to exist. Thank you for once again showing me the path.
  • I saw GUMMO before LEOLO, which is why I'm calling this review GUMMO part 0.

    And I have to say that what struck me first while watching LEOLO is the similarities between both films: a kid surrounded by crazy people. Cats being abused. Obsession with bodily functions, etc. GUMMO director Harmony Korine was probably "inspired" to do GUMMO after seeing LEOLO. With that said, I have to say I dislike LEOLO as much as GUMMO. Both films are intellectually phony. I didn't believe the characters and situations in LEOLO for one second. Yes, the late director might have said that LEOLO was inspired by events in his childhood but end result still feels/sounds hollow. Scenes of the kid writing in his journal while the crazy things happen around him made me laugh. The end result of the movie is like a narcissistic mobius strip: kid writing journal in his youth. As an adult, kid decides to make movie about him writing in his journal. On and on it goes.

    The characters are (ugly) caricatures. None of the people inhabiting this film are real. Pure tokenism. Things aren't helped much by the fact that most of the "actors" can't act. Only the young kid (director) is shown to be normal or intelligent. Because of this, the film ends up being mean-spirited and self-indulgent. Just like GUMMO.

    LEOLO and GUMMO would make a great double feature for masochists of phony cinema.

    If you want to see a great Canadian movie about a kid and her dysfunctional family, watch LES BONS DEBARRAS instead. The Francis Mankiewicz film is filled with real poetic moments, amazing writing and excellent acting.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have seen this movie on DVD, and I was a bit confused. I always thought that I am somehow intelligent and able to understand even complicated plots and thoughts, but this time, I failed. Or can it be that this movie is really not as good as so many people tell us? The story is weird, and I cannot believe that it is a proof of intellectual level that we see a young girl eating an old man's toenails, while a young boy watches her and "plays with himself". And also the rest of the story is only weird. Frankly speaking, this movie is also boring and did not touch me, at all. Everything only seems to give me the impression that the director wanted to talk about some severe problems that he might have had during his childhood!? If he wants, he should go to a psychiatrist. But he should not bore audience with his thoughts.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    OK I saw this film in my Canadian Film class last week and I thought it was horrible! I am a very open minded person when it comes to movies, but I don't know what to do with this one. Leolo was disturbing and the end made little to no sense. There are characters added at the end who have no need being there, no is the end explained well. I was told it was a beautiful little film prior to seeing it, but I saw no beauty, I only saw an obsession with feces and other bodily functions. I was revolted and by the end was terribly disappointed and unfulfilled. It was the worst film by far that was screened in the class and I will never get one image/sound out of my head for a long time. That scene with the cat is the most useless and out of place scene I have ever been witness to, not to mention the most disturbing. I give Leolo a 2 out of 10.
  • Leolo is an amazingly well made story of a boy filled with dreams named Leolo. His family is disturbed in many different ways from phecophilliac parents to muscle obsessed brothers. the unique aspect of this movie is it's use of fragmented time and it's non causal narrative. it has moments of sheer hilarity and heavy emotional impact. the characters are all incredibly well drawn unique and believable. Warning some scenes are not for the weak hearted as one scene in particular can really effect you for a couple of days unless of course you hate cats. I don't want to give too much away but this is an absolute must see. You may regret seeing this but it's worth whatever irrepareable mental problems.
  • DanKIT2110 February 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    Other users seem to have enjoyed this film, but I thought it was revolting. Who wants to watch a movie where a kid puts raw meat in the bathtub, then slides it into his underwear, and has an orgasm with it? Oh and then his family eats the meat for dinner. Okay, fine so it's a human interest story about a kid growing up in a highly dysfunctional family... but the narrator doesn't seem to be any less dysfunctional than his relatives.

    To make things even more interesting, Leolo's family believes that in order to avoid disease in their impoverished surroundings, one must "shit" all the time, so Leolo grows up taking daily laxative shock treatments. His parents even check to make sure he has had a good BM or they sit in the same room with him while he excretes.

    Can I just say that I don't understand why ANYONE would want to watch this movie? The only reason I did is that my dad had rented it and said it was "about a boy growing up." Sounds harmless, right? The director could have included a few of the bathroom scenes at the beginning of the movie to give viewers a sense of how this poor kid grew up, but it was unnecessary to interrogate people with these preverted images.
  • This is one of the best movies ever made. It is beautifully shot, has great music, an amazing story and it is deeply touching. The first time I watched it, in a movie theater, I just sat there after the film had ended, emotionally exhausted. Since then, I have seen it on TV and on a bad copy of a VHS tape, neither of which do this wonderful movie justice. So the question is: why is there no DVD available of one of the best movies ever made? Someone must own the rights; or are they in an insane asylum?

    Edit: Since I first wrote this comment, the DVD has been published. I advise anyone who likes great, artistic movies to do as I did and buy it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I missed the first 30 minutes of this travesty but what i did see was sick, disgusting, vulgar and worst of all....pointless and unfunny. i can appreciate sick, weird and even vulgar---but what was the point? & was it supposed to be funny? the kid screwing a cat? i mean, what was that? the 2 scrawny 9yr olds having "sex" w/ the fat lady in the dirty alley. gross. the kid trying to hang his grandfather in the bathtub--& the conclusion to that incident was.......???? nothing. life just went on like it never happened & where the hell was the grandfather? it was like each scene was merely for shock value and i hate when movies try hard to shock. oh & the corny french guy & his poetic narrations that tried to make every scene sound prophetic was enough to get the eyes rolling. & the ending w/ the kid under the bed? what was that all about? then the movie ends with the cheezy french guy going on about how funny life is sometimes. come on. the only good thing i saw in the movie was the hunky muscular older brother who walked around in a wife-beater & undies. his little brother was a total perv and annoying to boot. i wish they'd shown more of his hunky brother. this movie gets the big thumbs down....except for the muscleboy. peace OUT!
  • Movies like this make me want to punch Roger Ebert. I think it was Ebert who praised this. Maybe it was the other one. Hell, I'll punch em both.

    Don't let the pseudo intellectual reviews fool you. This is "American Pie 2" masquerading as an art house film. Potty humour. A man masturbates on a load of tomatoes. A boy urinates off a balcony. A fat woman takes a dump (while the camera moves slowly in between her legs). A boy tries to take a dump but fails. A boy takes a dump (with sound effects).

    This is all in the first 20 minutes. I shut the movie off, saving myself the torment of watching what someone told me was in the 2nd half: more masturbation, sex with animals, more people taking dumps, sex with 12-year-old-boys, and probably a few farts for good measure.

    American Pie 2.

    I'm sorry to say that this is the first Canadian movie I've seen that royally bit the big one. It'll take me a while to recover from this atrocity. Save yourself the upchucked lunch and watch a good, wholesome Kurosawa movie instead.

    P.S. If you're a fan of Peter Greenaway, you'll love this movie. Seriously.
  • RJX9 September 1998
    Well, I just find it strange that this movie so often is regarded as a comedy. Sure, there are some funny parts in it, but only on the surface. I find it to be a very sad and touching story, with a lot of pain underneath. No one agrees?
  • When I walked out of the theater after watching this film, I was emotionally drained. I laughed, cried and wretched so often, I was unsure what to think about the movie at first. After pondering, I came to the conclusion that "Leolo" is the most introspective portrait of introverted childhood ever filmed.

    Leolo lives in his own mind, and tries to shut himself off from the family he both loves and hates. Although I was horrified by Leolo's surroundings, I identified with his perils. Leolo spends his spare time reading and writing, but when he tries to interact with children his own age, he realizes how little he has in common with them. Leolo still tries to overcome the horror of his life, but the family curse is something he can't evade.

    What's more saddening than the conclusion to this film, is the tragic death of the films director Jean-Claude Lauzon. I didn't think too much about his first film "Night Zoo", but with "Leolo" he proved that he was one of the best new talents in film. I believe that "Leolo" was a very personal film, and that many of Leolo's trials, he experienced himself. The tragic accident that claimed his life seems so ironic when considering Leolo's tragic end.

    I loved everything about this film, especially the soundtrack. Whenever friends come over to hang out, drink, smoke and watch a film, this is the one I put in the dvd player (it's available on dvd at www.amazon.ca) This films is for every person that felt the need to escape. In addition, this is for every person that hates Hollywood cookie-cutter films.

    If you haven't seen it, there are few other films I could recommend.
  • plnorman14 July 2007
    This is a very sad and sick movie. A review of professional critics and IMDb user comments and message board don't seem to address an obvious and obscene fact. According to the IMDb, the actor who played Leolo, Maxime Collin, was about 12 years old at the time of the filming. This child actor is involved in pedophilia (adults having sex with children) and bestiality (people having sex with animals) scenes. We see him masturbating himself, being masturbated by a women (actually she is masturbating two children), and apparently having sex with a cat. We can say that they are "just acting", but the reason pedophile behavior is wrong is because children are too young to know what is going on and in no position to say no to an adult.

    This movie reflects a film industry that encourages perverted and morally-reprehensible films, and an audience that just doesn't seem to care. Shame on the people who made this film, on the critics who thought it was so wonderful, on the governmental authorities who didn't prosecute the film makers, and on all of us who knowingly or unwittingly watched it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    young 12 year old boy masturbates in a piece of raw meat.....young nude girl bites an old mans toenails....young boys use a cat for sex.....mother falls in a tomato truck and gets pregnant by tomato....dad and mom watch son evacuate his bowels and clap when he does it. IS THAT ENUFF FOR YOU. and some say i didn't understand the film and it is a masterpiece. sorry but this movie is rotten to the core. and im french..and i don't betray my people because the movie C.R.A.Z.Y was a million times better. leolo is an absolute disaster. 1 point for cinematography though...and thats it. THOSE who loved it well.......good for you but you ain't no friend of mine
  • Jean-Claude Lauzon's semi-autobiographical Leolo, the last film he made before his death in a plane crash in 1995, is a powerful and unique masterpiece that, for me, will never grow old. Dramatizing the thin line between art and madness, Leolo is one of the most unique films ever made: vulgar, audacious, imaginative, disturbing, yet deeply compassionate. Though Leolo feels very personal to me, it is a film made for every outsider whose environment is so devoid of the things that nurture their souls, that, to survive, they must escape into a world of dreams, surviving only by being a spectator to their own life.

    12-year-old Leolo (Maxime Collin) lives in a squalid tenement in Montreal, Canada, yet to him, he is no longer Leo Lozeau but an expatriate Sicilian named Leolo Lozone. Blaming his grandfather for infecting everyone with his errant genes, the boy lives in a home where insanity rules, affecting most of his family, except for his mother (Ginette Reno). He describes his world as "strange, harrowing, stinking, with no friends and no light." His father, a rotund sweaty man who has the warmth of a night patrolman, slinks around the house obsessed with everyone's toilet habits, making sure that everyone visits the bathroom at least once a day.

    Dreaming of his neighbor Bianca, a few years older than him, he navigates between his adolescent urges and the reality of his sordid existence, surviving only by resting his head "between two worlds, in the valley of the vanquished." He reads in the basement with only the light from a half-opened refrigerator door and writes in his journal whenever he can, finding his "only real joy in solitude. Solitude is his castle." When his brother is beaten up twice by the same thug, even though he has put on an enormous amount of muscle, Leolo notes that "fear lives in the deepest part of our being, no matter our outward appearance."

    His cry "Because I dream, I am not" enters our heart and buries itself until it is our own, a cry from the depths of our being. Filled with stunning bursts of poetry and a gorgeous eclectic soundtrack, Leolo is a touching, yet heartbreaking experience. For those who know what it means to grow up alone, at odds with the world around you, Leolo will make you feel that you have found a kindred spirit.
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