Pascale Bussières as Marie and François Papineau as Pierre in Marécages (Wetlands)
For the fourth year in a row, representative films from the 2012 Rendez-vous du cinéma Québecois will play in Whitehorse next week.
Filmmaker Guy Édoin will present his feature, Marécages (Wetlands) at the Yukon Arts Centre on Thursday, April 5 at 8 p.m. He will also be on hand for the Dawson City International Short Film Festival (DCISFF), which runs this year from April 5 to 8.
Marécages is Édoin's first feature-length film, following his acclaimed trilogy of short, farm-related films, LesAffluents (The Tributaries)—Le Pont, Les Eaux Mortes and La Battue (The Bridge, The Swamp, The Battered).
Les Eaux Mortes won the Jutra award for best short film in 2007.
In the film, we meet Jean and Marie Santerre, who operate a farm in the Eastern Townships of Québec, and their son, Simon.
Pascale Bussières as Marie and François Papineau as Pierre in Marécages (Wetlands) PHOTO: Métropole Films
In the dog days of summer, drama comes to a family that is already beset by mounting debts and a severe water shortage.
A stranger appears in their life and messes the order of things. The same summer, 14-year-old Simon discovers he might be gay. The movie demonstrates the tensions caused by their problems and their exhaustion.
Marécages shows the daily life and hard work involved in a career in agriculture.
"I wanted to demonstrate the reality of working on the farm. Most movies show the romantic and folkloric side of agricultural life, and I thought I had the capacity to go further," says Édoin, who grew up on a farm and understands that environment.
"We can say that the movie is partly autobiographical. Some anecdotes in Marécagesreally happened to my family in the past. For instance, we really experienced a water supply problem," he says.
Guy spent some time of his teenage years writing screenplays while he was taking care of the farm with his parents.
"This is a lot of work and it never stops. You have to work 365 days a year. It's not slavery, but it's a vocation. You have to be very passionate to be farmer."
The film is supported by a very impressive cast: Pascale Bussières (Marie), Luc Picard (Jean), Gabriel Maillé(Simon) and François Papineau (Pierre).
Édoin's original intent in casting the film was to use unknown actors, or people without acting experience, to make the story as real as possible. However, he did have Bussières in mind to play Marie, and the other actors also committed to the project.
"We've been really lucky in our casting," the 31-year-old director says.
"We realized that the story could not have been carried by non-experienced people. The actors knew so well what they had to do that I almost didn't have to guide them."
Marécages was filmed on the dairy farm where Édoin grew up, and where his parents still live.
"It was great to see how my family managed to make room for a team of 50 people. I think they're glad I'm talking about their reality," he says.
While Édoin is presenting the film in Whitehorse and attending the DCISFF, Marécages will also be on-screen in Hong Kong.
Édoin will present a movie-making master class in Dawson City at 12 p.m. on Saturday, April 7, as part of this year's DCISFF. His short films will also be screened during the festival
The Rendez-vous du cinéma Québecois event in Whitehorse will also include a screening of Cécil Baril'sdocumentary, La théorie du tout, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4 at the Old Fire Hall.
Virginie Hamel is a regular contributor to What’s Up Yukon who keeps tab on events in Yukon’s francophone community.