In his science fiction film “Se fonder”, filmmaker Simon Lavoie sounds the alarm on the anglicization of Quebec

In his science fiction film “Se fonder”, filmmaker Simon Lavoie sounds the alarm on the anglicization of Quebec
In his science fiction film “Se fonder”, filmmaker Simon Lavoie sounds the alarm on the anglicization of Quebec

Very popular with certain filmmakers in the 1960s and 1970s, political cinema is now rare in Quebec. With Meltdirector Simon Lavoie follows in the footsteps of Pierre Falardeau and Michel Brault in his own way by signing “an identity science fiction film” in which he sounds the alarm on the anglicization of Quebec.

The plot of Melt takes place in a near future where Quebec political prisoners serving life sentences die one after the other in their prison cells. We end up understanding that this series of deaths is linked to the youngest prisoner in the wing, Number 973 (Jean-François Casabonne), and to the strange tapeworm he carries inside him.

Released after appearing before a judge, Matricule 973 will discover with amazement, upon his release from prison, that he no longer recognizes his city and that he no longer hears its language.

After having addressed the question of Quebec identity in several of his previous films, including Laurentie And Those who make revolutions half-heartedly only dig their own graves, This time Simon Lavoie wanted to tackle the subject in a more direct way.

“I wanted to call a spade a spade and talk about this subject which is, for me, a real driving force for creation,” explains the filmmaker.

“In our history, artists have always sought to define what Quebec is and what the experience of being Quebecois is in this world. It’s like a brick that we each take turns adding to this wall and which allows us to build our cinematography and our arts.”

“But to this has been added in recent years the fear of seeing our cultural traits flattened, our language eroded and our nation merging into this Anglo-Saxon North America. For me, there is an urgency to talk about this in our narrative arts, such as cinema and literature. And I have the impression that we rarely do it, perhaps out of modesty or scruple.”

Collective imagination

COURTESY MATTHIEU BROUILLARD

It was the imprisonment of Catalan independence leaders, in 2017, in Spain, which was the starting point of the scenario of Melt.

“They were imprisoned simply because they wanted to hold a referendum for the independence of Catalonia,” says Simon Lavoie. It brought me back a little to the figure of political prisoners, which is quite important in our collective imagination with the FLQ and the patriots. At the same time, I wanted to make a film that would explore horror cinema and science fiction.”

Obviously, there are numerous references to the October crisis. Melt was also filmed in the former prison of Sorel, the same one where Michel Brault filmed his masterpiece, Ordersmore than 50 years ago.

Simon Lavoie also often quotes Gilles Groulx (The cat in the bag) and Pierre Falardeau (October, February 15, 1839) among his influences in terms of Quebec political films.

“Pierre Falardeau’s shoes are big to fill! launches director. He was one of the last political filmmakers in Quebec who openly expressed this desire for independence. But I in turn wanted to fully embrace this political inclination that inhabits me.”

The film Melt hits theaters on June 28.

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