Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Quebec!

So, this is the day we, Quebeckers, celebrate the fact that: 1) the French language has survived for four centuries in North America; 2) we love Quebec, which is the only Canadian province where the majority (about more than 70%) of people speak French as their mother tongue. Whether Quebec decides to separate from Canada or not, there's one thing in our mind: the hope that Quebec, as a society (so to speak), will keep growing up.

Of course, since this blog is about movies, I guess the post would be incomplete if I didn't take the time to talk about my five favourite films coming from Quebec. Finally, if you scroll down the list of films, you'll notice that I respected my tradition, which consists in leaving you with a quiz so that you can test your knowledge about Quebec, whether you're from here or not. Enjoy and happy Quebec Day!

Lost and Delirious

I haven't seen a lot of teenager films in my life. However, since I know that many like this genre, I'd gladly recommend this film for you provided that you don't mind watching depressing films. Besides, if you decide to watch this film, bear in mind that the film is as powerful as Brokeback Mountain. Finally, I should also mention that the film's strength mostly lies in the well-chosen cast's performance, especially from Piper Perabo.


Not a very easy film to watch since it deals with the Montreal Massacre, an event that traumatize a whole country back in 1989. As a History student, I certainly liked this film (although I didn't feel at ease while watching the film), because it tries to stick to what actually happened. Hence, the brilliant mix between fiction and documentary-making in the film.

Maurice Richard (The Rocket)

Perhaps one of the best bio-pic to come out of Quebec from my personal experience as a cinephile. Although the film deals with the ethnic tensions between French Quebeckers and Canadian WASPs (an important part of Canadian and Quebecker history), the film skilfully avoids demagoguery by talking about the life of a famous hockey player who will struggle to have his place in a professional sport dominated and financed by Canadian WASPs and Americans.


This a film spanning from the 1960s to the 1980s about a teenager trying to get out of the closet while trying to be respected by his homophobic dad. Personally, I didn't find it as good as Lost and Delirious. However, the cast's performance is still quite brilliant, especially the performance from Michel Côté, who plays the dad, and Marc-André Grondin, who plays the homosexual teenager.

Les ordres

This one might be a classic dating back from the 1970s, but I'll always like it. As you'd expect any good historical film to be, Les ordres shows a very balanced presentation of the way the Canadian government applied martial law in October 1970 in order to track down the terrorists of the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), a political group seeking the independence of Quebec through the use violence if necessary. Although the film is far to be a documentary, it sure documents really well the effect of mass-detention (without the issuance of arrest warrants) on innocent citizens.


1. Which Quebecker dramatic TV series has had its format sold to some European TV networks under the international name of Windfall & Misfortunes?
a) Les Lavigueurb) Minuit, le soir
c) Nos étésd) François en série

2. In the 1960s, which Quebecker historian created a controversy by writing a book on the practice of slavery in what is now Quebec from the 17th century to 1834 (the year when slavery was abolished in the British Empire)?
a) Guy Frégaultb) Ronald Ruddin
c) John A. Dickinsond) Marcel Trudel

3. What is the real name of "Bill 101", the law making French the official language within Quebec?
a) The Edict of Quebec Cityb) The Charter of the French Language
c) The Laurin Actd) The Public Language Act

4. Who am I? Born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, I did more than 1,800 play-by-play comments in English (on both radio and TV) in hockey games involving the Montreal Canadiens from 1952 to 1984.
a) Don Cherryb) Foster Hewitt
c) Danny Gallivand) Bob Cole

5. Which known hockey player from the Montreal Canadiens was nicknamed "The Chicoutimi Cucumber"?
a) Jacques Planteb) Georges Vézina
c) Maurice Richardd) Jean Béliveau

6. Who am I? Born in Chicago in 1952, I moved to Montreal around 1980. Moreover, I'm known for following the American tradition of socially engaged and historical novels.
a) Taras Grescoeb) Colin McDougall
c) David Homeld) Mavis Gallant

7. Which Quebecker singer is known for selling his tickets for his concerts right in the street by calling out people and making them hear a sample of what he sings (on a CD, naturally)?
a) Bernard Lachanceb) Sam Roberts
c) Éric Lapointed) Bloodshot Bill

8. Quote from a poem: "Canadians will ye basely bend,/ To win a heartless tyrant's smile,/ Your Fathers' page of glory rend/ And wear oppression's fetters vile?/ Will you with you to your graves/ Bear the foul and guilty name/ Of Traitor, Coward, Prideless slaves,/ And clothe your house with lasting shame?" This poem was written during what specific historical event?
a) The Lower-Canada Rebellionb) The Boer War
c) The Conscription Crisis of World War Id) The Vietnam War

9. Which Quebecker poet has often been compared to French poet Arthur Rimbaud?
a) Gaston Mironb) Émile Nelligan
c) Octave Crémazied) William Chapman

10. This famous movie director is known for directing classic films such as or playing on stage in plays such as The Andersen Project. Who is it?
a) André Forcierb) Jean Beaudin
c) Robert Lepaged) Léa Pool

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