The story of a fabulous, even legendary city (the only Canadian city Ian Fleming ever imagined James Bond visiting) passing the torch, FUNKYTOWN takes for granted that its audiences know how Montréal was abandoned for Toronto.  I liked this movie a great deal (though I wish more scenes were in French), however, could a viewer …
" /> Jason Holborn | Cybercarnet/Weblog - Patterns: FUNKYTOWN


The story of a fabulous, even legendary city (the only Canadian city Ian Fleming ever imagined James Bond visiting) passing the torch, FUNKYTOWN takes for granted that its audiences know how Montréal was abandoned for Toronto.  I liked this movie a great deal (though I wish more scenes were in French), however, could a viewer in Tokyo or Miami or Buenos Aries understand this movie?  I’m not convinced.  However, it’s full of terrific disco music and solid performances and compares the P.Q. to Hitler.

1. A “group” (Blake Snyder includes “a business that is unique” in his category… I had no idea the first disco in N America was in Montréal.)  The institution is DISCO, alive and free-wheeling and pulsing and attracting and seducing thousands, and Disco is epitomized by the Starlight discotheque.
2. A “choice”, the ongoing conflict pitting a Brando or Naif vs the system’s “Company Men” (this doesn’t entirely fit, only somewhat)
3. A “sacrifice” leading to one of three endings: burn it down, join it, or commit “suicide” (all three endings happen due to the large Ensemble Cast of Characters

*The lead characters are real; the rest of the ensemble cast are fictional people that represent a lot of people surrounding the real leads*

OPENING IMAGE on an EMPTY SWIMMING POOL….. drained of its promise and potential, faded and cracked.

A couple having drugged sex.  “How did I get here?”  (Theme Stated)

SET UP: Montréal 1976 – Bastien (Patrick Huard) preps and performs his TV spot advertising his Disco Dance Party TV segment and advertising the Starlight Disco Club

Jonathan entertains at his loft apartment; the main thrust of exposition is: “he’s flamboyantly gay”.

Mimi shops for vintage clothing and she’s recognized while apprehensively waiting for her Chargex to Clear.  She’s a celebrity.

Bastien discovers his new company car — sporty red convertible

Tino gets a call from Tina at his restaurant gig: Tina is in Jonathan’s fabulous loft.  Tino’s impressed; his MOTHER BOSS/OWNER OF RESTAURANT is not

Bastien arrives last possible second for his radio DJ gig.  He’s free-wheeling and fancy-free.

Media: “DISCO HAS TAKEN THIS CITY BY STORM.”  Montréal’s an international discotheque hotspot.  The Starlight is the first disco in North America; Dad Gilles claims to have “discovered” disco.  Daniel runs the disco but Dad Gilles just hangs out there (he owns it).  Gilles is a powerful wealthy record producer
CATALYST – the club’s own existence is the impetus for change in the lives of the ensemble cast.

THEME STATED: What’s Gille’s secret?  “BALLS.  YOU NEED BALLS.”  Some of these characters have the balls to survive the decadence of the era, and some do not.

Bastien offers Mimi a drive; she cares a lot about appearances.

The Weekend Commences at the fabulous exclusive downtown Starlight Club

Daniel offers Bastien COCAINE (should Bastien give it up….?)

Outside Tina and Tina are in line-up; she snuggles up to Jonathan to get inside.  He disses her but loves Tino and invites them in.  (what will happen to Tino and Tina in this decadence….?)

Gilles has problems with the separatists; he’s busting his balls to put Montreal on the map and the separatists are fucking it up in his opinion (will Montréal survive the Parti Québecois….?  Yes, but barely)

He wants the Starlight to be more than the ‘equal’ of Studio 54; he wants to supplant it.  Helene is unhappy with the way dad Gilles treats Son Daniel (will Daniel be his own man?  Will Helen get through to him?  Will the Starlight be better than Studio 54….?)

Min 16:00 Bastien is out of cocaine; he notices a Sexy Lady who approaches him, leaving behind an Older Man Than Bastien.  She is Adriana.  Her MANAGER is NICOLE, a brassy pushy denmother agent.  Does Bastien have a card?  “Everybody knows who I am.”  Nicole sends Adriana back to the Old Man to hustle business.
Nicole needs Bastien to put Adriana on TV; but she can’t speak French.  (will Adriana find success….?  Will Nicole…?)  Nicole says to sub-title it.  She pleads that Adriana is in trouble career-wise at 25 and can’t even vomit sufficiently: “the poor girl has no gag reflex.”  BASTIEN IS REALLY INTERESTED NOW  (This was a very well-done moment imo)

Daniel intros the night and Bastien announces an impromptu dance audition for Disco Dance Party.  Tina and Tino see their chance.

THEY TEAR UP THE DANCEFLOOR as Bastien and Adriana trade coy glances

Tino and Tina put Travolta and Newton-John to shame and WIN.  They’re big fans of the show; now that they’re popular, Jonathan claims Tino (and Tina) as “his gang”.  Jon’s mad about Bastien getting the spotlight on the club stage and Daniel buys him off with cocaine.

Tino “goes to pee” and discovers a seedy louche underground club below the ground floor of the Starlight with  a males-only gyrating crowd, many of whom dance together.  Tino ignores them but can’t ignore the guys trading hand jobs in the washroom.  He stares at himself in the mirror (Tino’s MOMENT OF GRACE)

Bastien’s WIFE and DAUGHTER (B STORY) have personal conflict which he’s oblivious to.  “She seems fine to me”.  He totally ignores his homelife and ignores wife’s complaints.  Wife is annoyed Bastien’s continuing with the show because they mutually sacrificed together  for his acting career.

Gilles and Mimi meet fro breakfast.  He’s angry at her press; she earned him success but he has the contract over her and he doesn’t care.  He refuses to make the Starlight play her French disco song which she sank all her money into.  He’s very cold to her.  “THAT’S MY ONLY TALENT!” Mimi implores, regarding her voice.  She must learn a new talent or sink by the end.  Gilles advises her to drop a few pounds, chiding her for “letting herself go”.

Bastien spies Adriana on a LeChateau billboard: VIVE L’AMOUR (long live love).  He calls Adriana and promises a surprise.

Min 30:40 Tino’s mother is angry and deeply so; she’s harsh to Tino and is passive-aggressively cutting to him.  She is extremely bitter.
Jonathon is in the restaurant – he implores Tino to join him.  Tino’s friends insult fags; Tino refuses to kick them out for his Mother (but he may regret later not standing up to them)

Tino and Tina dance on the Disco Dance Party show; Bastien hosts and promises KAREN will appear later.  He intros Jonathan Harrison’s segment.  Jonathan intros Adriana.  (Gilles & Nicole watch on monitors)  Adriana’s a poor interview, she’s boring.  Jonathan tells her about her new job hosting a fashion segment on this very show.  She’s speechless (indicating her soon-to-incarnate problems) but mouths ‘thank you’ to Bastien who winks back.  Jon gives Adriana 2 weeks.
Karen arrives and preps to perform.  Gilles kisses her lightly for luck.

Bastien introduces Karen (who sings in French)
Nicole reveals to Gilles she’s Adriana’s rep, which gets his interest.  She wants to show Gilles a fabulous singer (37.30)

Jonathan watches Tino on monitor and surmises he has a shot at bedding him….
Jonathan gets Tino alone and invites Tino to visit “the bridge” and claims Tino knows exactly what he’s talking about….

Adriana meets Bastien in his dressing room.  She’s welcome.  They flirt.

Adriana and Bastien commence a carnal relationship.

Tino arrives at the bridge, which is underneath a bridge in the dark/gravel.

Adriana coaxes Bastien to try cocaine again — “once can’t hurt” he agrees.

Tino arrives in a crowd of strange men who are flirtatious and grind in dark recesses and meets Jonathan, who eventually seduces Tino

Tino returns to the restaurant where his Mom toils with the receipts and accounting.  She closed up early because she was short-staffed bc of Tino.  He’s a clown on TV.  She fires him.

Daniel and Helene lock up the Starlight (45).  He offers her a lift.

Bastien wakes up at Adriana’s; meets her roommate Sabrina.  He bums a smoke.  What’s his story?, Sabrina asks.  “I don’t have a story,” he replies.

Bastien’s wife wants to drive Daughter Cynthia to school; Cynthia knows Bastien will come, and he does — in the new car.  The Daughter is incredibly cruel and condescending to Mom (reflecting Bastien’s real attitude).

Tino moves into his friend’s basement.

48:38 Nicole shows Gilles the fabulous singer: a frumpy middle-aged “fat” Church singer.  Nicole can spruce her up; but Gilles is not convinced.  Nicole decides to agree with Gilles: she’s fat and ugly.

Adriana can’t speak French and can’t maintain herself on TV

Bastien CONFLICTS with Sabrina.
He gets Adriana her own new place. Min 50

MIDPOINT: I peg this as the Mid-Point though in this kind of ensemble cast list I find it a challenge to pinpoint these things.  Bastien’s clearly the main character; he’s rescued his Damsel with his Knightly money, setting her up in a lovenest of her own.  False Victory.

Hotel POOL: Bastien “doesn’t know” Adriana, supple and nymphic in her bathing suit.  Bastien confides in a Waiter – when you can be seen in public with a woman like that, you know you’ve made it.

Adriana ruins an interview because of her lack of French.

Jonathan calls Tino but Tino begs Jon to never call this number.

Tino goes home to get some stuff and notices his mother’s room door open.  She has HUNG HERSELF Min 53:00 MOMENT OF GRACE  In all the decadence and hedonism, no one ever noticed this poor woman’s torment, despite her angry attempts to draw attention to her plight.

Fade to Black

Bastien’s wife cruises through DT night streets (trouble coming for Bastien)

Mimi is a waitress now – her bad guys have really closed in; she sees Karen accepting awards on TV and thanking Gilles.  Then she’s recognized at her job by a Punk Rocker who admires her.  This is Kiki, who became a singer and adopted “Kiki” because of Mimi

Tino now runs the restaurant himself; he gives the orders now.  He lets Tina go to dance night by herself, he’s too beat and fatigued. (his bad guys have closed in; he works and slaves instead of dancing)

Bastien’s wife infiltrates the Starlight.  She hasn’t seen him in 4 days.  Jonathan snidely confirms her suspicions.

Bastien is doing cocaine with Adriana.  And other drugs.  Adriana bares her soul – she’s always dreamed of being a singer.  She’s actually NOT a good singer.  They do even more drugs now.
Bastien is honest with her: the network is axing her show.  She was going to quit anyway.  She’s tired of “posing and flirting and showing off my ass” (which is exactly what Bastien does for meaningful employment himself). MOMENT OF GRACE for BASTIEN… WHICH HE IGNORES

1:00:00 Jonathan enters home.  Tino’s in the shower.

Bastien drives home in his snazzy car to find his belongings and a note and a cocaine baggie and a changed lock along with a Front Page of he & Adriana posted.  He’s homeless.

Tino in bed with Jon doesn’t want to kiss; he loves Tina.  Jonathan counsels Tino to sell and get on with life.  Jonathan can’t sell.  Jonathan knows the best dance teachers in NYC and wants to help Tino but Tino doesn’t see a future in it.  He has respect for his roots and the sacrifices his mother made, “Maybe it’s an Italian thing”.

Adriana walks in on Nicole during a shoot and indicates “needing to talk”.  Adriana wants to sing but Nicole cautions “she can’t sing”.  Adriana insists that Nicole make it happen.  (Bad Guy on horizon for Nicole… this pressure is impossible to reconcile)

1:06:00 Gilles challenges Nicole: Did she vote for the Parti Québécois?  She’s rather vote for Hitler.  The city is hemorrhaging residents and everyone’s moving to Toronto.  Nicole has business concerning Adriana

Bastien is insulted by an anglophone unilingual at an audition; he throws a tantrum.  Producers don’t want to see a Disco TV Host in a movie.  Bastien is enraged. (Bad Career Guys)

Bastien returns home to discover: Adriana has left.  The place is empty. (Bad Love Guy)

Mimi meets Kiki’s band and is shocked that Kiki DOES in fact have EVERY single disc she ever pressed.

Bastien watches a federalist beer ad (ie. anti-separation) and flicks the TV off.  He smokes idly.

Mimi likes Kiki’s band.  She’s surprised and touched and impressed.  1:10:00

Gilles confirms that Adriana can’t sing.  But she has “something” and she’s worth more than just a fuck.

Adriana’s listening.

Adriana returns home to Bastien, who is angry and drugged up on blow; he looks like shit.  He’s brought all this stuff that Wife Cynthia threw out.  She believes she’s more than a sex object.  She offers him the chance to leave, and bids good nite.

Tino has nightmares of his Dead Hung Mother.  Jonathan awakens at Tino’s dreaming and consoles him.  Tino kisses him.

Gilles arrives at the Starlight angry to see “Le” being added to the Starlight sign.  It’s the law and Daniel had to call it “Le Starlight” or “La Lumiere des Étoiles” to conform to the Parti Québécois’s new language restriction laws.  The Language Police are there observing.  Gilles is PISSED that Daniel didn’t stand up to them; but doesn’t understand the law is the law. (Bad Political Turmoil Guy for THE STARLIGHT (the Institution)… and for Montréal)

Gilles physically intimidates and hassles Daniel in privacy.  Helene interrupts the action.  Later on after the night is over, she tells Daniel he doesn’t need to be treated that way.  Daniel shouldn’t have borrowed the money to open the Starlight; his dad Gilles holds it over him.  She invites Daniel in but he has to work (if he wants to get the old man off his back)

Jonathan arrives at the Casa Crescent, Tino’s restaurant.  Tina invites him in excitedly – Tino proposed and she said yes.  Jonathan’s shocked and congratulates; excuses himself.  Tino signals Jon can leave.  He curses the couple to have “all the happiness you deserve”.  Tina will find much happiness with Tino, but Tino, not so much. (Bad love Guy for Jonathan)

Tino announces he’s “breaking up” with Jonathan.  Jonathan feels emotionally slighted…

On the radio, Bastien announces a surprise appearance at “le Starlight” by “Adriana”

1:21:30 Daniel announces Adriana at the Le Starlight.  She’s got PIPES and can sing now!  Eventually, most viewing audiences will realize the truth: She’s lip-synching.
Daniel seems to sense something is not quite right with Gilles’ new protégée

Batien arrives at the Le Starlight and confirms “Adriana” is his Adriana, and that she’s finished and left with Gilles

Awkward moment as Gilles helps Adriana move out, in front of Bastien.  “How come you never told me you wanted to sing”.  “I did” she says. MOMENT OF GRACE 2?

ALL IS LOST: Bastien Lavallée loses custody of his daughter.  And was foolish enough to represent himself.  Connie the Wife feels a Pyrrhic Victory.

The frumpy middle-aged Church Singer hears her voice on the PA and is shocked to discover it’s the new single from ADRIANA

Gilles’ office – Singer challenges Gilles.  He has a contract over her: she got her $200.  He throws her out via Security.

Dressing Room – Bastien cokes up and has a very bloody nose.  He totally embarrasses and shames himself on Disco Dance Party’s live-to-air feed.  His daughter and Adriana watch on TV; Daughter Cynthia’s FRIEND is weirded out by her dad.  Bastien throws a fit when the cameras cut — they’re all fucking up his show!  The Producer sends Bastien off and signals Jonathan to take his place as host.  Bastien gets violent; Producer reminds all it’s a party and to have fun.

Late at night, Singer harasses Gilles by phone.  He and Adriana are leaving.

Bastien pulls up and blocks them with his car.  He wants Adriana back.  Bastien blocks the car with his body – Gilles casts him off the hood with a lurch and drives away.

Cafe Crescent – Jonathan eats and kisses at a table to embarrass/discomfit Tino.  Tino asks them to keep it down bc others are offended.  Tino doesn’t want to lose any customers… and Jonathan wouldn’t DREAM of it (but really, he is planning to)

Living room couch.  Alone, Bastien wakes up.

In the le Starlight, Daniel descends into the cellar to stow away cash.

Gilles discoures that a massive lawsuit has been launched against him: Columbia and Capital Records have discovered that Gilles has stolen and translated and sold 600 of their songs.

Nicole arrives chez Gilles and notes the For Sale sign.  Adriana’s in the pool; she can’t explain the sign.  Nicole doesn’t trust Gilles.  Believes his bottom is falling out and moving to Toronto.  The minute Gilles tires of Adriana, Nicole and Adriana will be dumped.  Nicole has distribution in the US, in NYC, they want to distribute Adriana’s single.

Bastien calls up an old friend in an old phonebook; he’s hunting for a job and he needs a favor and heard Friend was doing a sitcom….

Bastien shows up to the Park but Daughter Cynthia snubs him.  Wife has a New Partner now.  Daughter saw Bastien stoned on TV and now her friends aren’t allowed to talk to her because of his drugs.  Bastien slinks away. (Dark KNight Of The Soul)

Adriana and Gilles conflict over his shady business status.  He says they’re not in trouble.  Adriana accepts.

Stairwell.  Bastien tries to buy drugs short; Biker: do you need your legs this week?

Green Room: Bastien is called into sitcom work.  SURPRISE: His Daughter has come and is in the stands.
Bastien’s MOMENT OF GRACE 3 1:40:20 as he preps for his walk-on wearing a hot dog costume.  An actor insults him and smears him with mustard.  “Go do your job”.

I know this is a lot of Moments of Grace for Bastien… who dies by probable/possible suicide at the end.  He has a lot of wake-up calls but just can’t heed them

Bastien reflects in his snazzy dream car, depressed and isolated.

Kitchen: Tina and Tino’s watch Disco Dance Party and Jonathan eviscerates Casa Crescent: DO NOT EAT THERE BECAUSE IT’S ‘OUT’ AND FOR LOSERS.  Tino claims he can’t understand.

Restaurant: Dining room is empty now.  They’re spiralling down.

Night Street: Bastien parks his car.  Arrives at his old house, sees the New Family eating.  He pauses.  Turns to leave.  But the Wife saw him and comes out.  Invites him in.  He declines.   Cynthia exits; she’s alright and she thought he was excellent on the sitcom.  Bastien apologizes for what happened with her friends.  She forgives him.  She invites him in, he declines to interrupt.  Bastien promises to take her out tomorrow, just her & him.  His daughter hugs him.

Skybar: Bastien begs a drink or tap off the Waiter.  He can’t run up a tab anymore.  Bastien gets violent – Nicole witnesses.

Bastien snorts coke in the washroom; Nicole chides him.  “You’re not fine.  See yourself?”  She advises Bastien that Adriana is leaving for NYC tomorrow for a whole new life and suggests that Bastien must do the same.

Bastien drives to NYC in his dream car.

Nicole and Adriana drop off luggage to Sabrina’s new NYC place.  Nicole discovers that Adriana is pregnant.  Nicole needs them to focus on success; they need an abortion.  Nicole presents this meeting as Adriana’s last chance for money.  Adriana stops the cab and boots Nicole out.  Nicole angrily insists on opening her own door and glares deadly daggers as Adriana leaves Nicole behind for good.

Back in Montreal…
At the le Starlight, it’s a White Party.  Gilles surprises Daniel that he’s selling the club.  He’s moving to Toronto.
Helene interrupts and calls Gilles on his attitude.
Daniel sends Helen to get “it”… the money he keeps in the cellar, to buy the le Starlight off Gilles.

A trunk – masks and baseball bats.  Tino’s friends go to kick some ass at the Bridge to take out their anger on Jonathan.
In a wild coincidence I find tough to buy — they attack and beat and stomp TINO, then they bolt in shock and fear.

Helen returns with the money.  Daniel made this money on his cut of selling cocaine and claims the money as his.  He physically tussles with Gilles and “kicks Gilles’s ass”.  Gilles is proud now of his son and his attitude changes — he’s happy to take off with his money and leave Daniel in the club.

At Disco Dance Party’s soundstage, Jonathan gets an urgent call (ie. the hospital ie. Tino)

Behind the le Starlight, Gilles throws the cash in his back seat and the SINGER returns with 2 boys to demand her money.  Gilles is rude and dismissive to her.  She has two MEN with her and Gilles senses trouble and RUNS….

Gilles enters the le Starlight White Party and the black tough guys follow him.

Gilles exits the front and scrambles through the parking lot.  He ducks into an alley.

1:56:00 Jon goes to visit Tino in the hospital.  Tino asks Jon to notify Tina and inform her it was an accident.

In NYC Bastien looks up Sabrina’s address and enters her building.

Meanwhile at home his Daughter waits diligently for Bastien to take her out.

Gillles finds refuge in a club, NITROGEN, a dirty cellar hole in the wall and sees Kiki’s BAND singing “Shiny Boots”.

Jonathan greets Tina and Tino’s FRIENDS – claims it was a hit & run and Tino’s friends say nothing.

Sabrina hears Bastien knock, and talk to Adriana.  She tells Bastien off which is a mistake – he breaks his way into the apartment and halts Sabrina from calling the police.  She gets a knife.  They argue and it gets physical – Bastien falls on her and kills her.  He hastens out.

Montreal – 2:01:30 Gilles meets Kiki; he offers her opportunity in Toronto and Kiki points out their MANAGER – whom Gilles discovers is MIMI; he sees her counting cash.  She notes him, registers, and nods that he can take off.  He grunts “c’est la vie” and leaves for a smoke.  He is SHOT by Singer’s Brother.

Knowlton Nash reports the Referendum is a NO vote and the Liberal Party brass celebrate – with Gilles, who survived.  His fortune has been lost with political turmoil.  He will make it all back and more, he’s assured, he’s in Toronto now.

Bastien pays a HOOKER (and now you realize that this is the Opening Scene).

Tina, now pregnant, answers phone at home.  Brightly, contentedly tells Tino’s FRIENDS that Tino’s busy at restaurant and won’t be back till late.

In fact, Tino goes to a sleazy men’s sex club.

Jonathan has flu symptoms and a Caposie’s Sarcoma.

Bastien’s daughter is led to the Principal’s Office – they’ve found drugs.

Bastien prepares heroin.

Gilles calls home; Adriana nestles their baby.  They love each other and are in love.

FINAL IMAGE: Bastien injects heroin.  He nods off.

Text Titles inform us:

Bastien’s death is never proved as a suicide, it was never proven that he killed Sabrina, either.

Jonathan died of AIDS

Mimi kicks KiKi up the charts and becomes the Federation’s most powerful talent agent; she still is today.


FINALE IMAGE Pt. 2: Cute Super 8 home movie over credits: In the tropics, Daniel films himself and Helene, who have retired and sold the le Starlight to move to a casa on the sea