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Film / Mario (1984)

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Mario is a 1984 French-language Canadian drama film written, directed, and produced by Jean Beaudin and set in the Magdalen Islands. Mario Leblanc (Xavier Norman Petermann) is a ten-year-old mute boy who lives in his own world. He spends most of his time with his eighteen-year-old brother Simon (Francis Reddy). Simon creates an elaborate fantasy for Mario in which they are Arab warriors.

One summer, Simon falls in love with a teenage girl named Hélène (Nathalie Chalifour), who is spending the summer on the island with her family. Simon is so taken with Hélène that he neglects his friendship with his brother. Mario decides that the intruder must leave or die.

Has nothing to do with the protagonist of a popular video game franchise.

Mario contains examples of:

  • '80s Hair: Simon's perm.
  • Accidental Murder: Mario accidentally pushes another boy off the top of Simon's fortress.
  • Alternate History: In Simon's games, the Aztecs successfully drove the Conquistadors out of the Americas, and the Arabs conquered all of Europe.
  • Anachronism Stew: Simon's games involve characters from different time periods, such as Hernán Cortés and Charles Martel.
  • Battle Cry: Mario screams as he charges Hélène with a long, pointed stick, trying to murder her.
  • Down in the Dumps: The kids collect metal from a scrapyard to build their fortress.
  • Fear of Thunder: Mario is scared of thunder because it reminds him of gunfire and explosions.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: Simon's stories about Arabs aren't just to entertain Mario - he's genuinely obsessed with the culture. He tells Hélène he's attracted to her because of her Arabic appearance.
  • Free-Range Children: The Leblancs are so busy during the tourist season that no one is around to watch Mario but Simon. The other neighborhood boys are also free to spend hours participating in Simon's games.
  • Inspired by…: The Claude Jasmin novel La Sablière.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Mario is first shown being taunted and shoved around by other kids.
  • Large Ham: Simon, at least in the English dub.
  • Laughing at Your Own Jokes: Simon promises to fix Hélène's malfunctioning camera in a flash. He then laughs and says, "Get it? In a flash?"
  • Mr. Imagination: Mario, to the point where he has trouble distinguishing fiction from reality.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Simon is always shirking his duties at his mother's grocery store to spend time with Mario or Hélène. When he suddenly turns into a workaholic after Hélène leaves the island, his mother knows something's wrong.
  • Poster-Gallery Bedroom: The brothers' bedroom is decorated with photographs of Arab horsemen.
  • Say My Name: Mario runs away after he accidentally kills another boy. Simon runs after him screaming his name.
  • Security Blanket: Mario carries his stuffed coyote everywhere. At one point he accidentally drops it off a boat and endangers his life jumping after it.
  • Silent Treatment: Simon does this to Mario after Mario rips down his pictures of Hélène.
  • Single Tear: Simon sheds one after he breaks two bird eggs.
  • The Speechless: Mario grunts, whimpers, and screams at different points in the movie, but the closest he comes to actual speech is croaking out "Ma..." a few times.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Mario throws his coyote against the wall because he's angry about Simon's neglect of him.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Done with Hélène right before she and Simon have sex.
  • Vapor Wear: Hélène doesn't appear to be wearing a bra in some of her scenes.