September 22, 2021


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Maria Chapdalein Review: A Retired Portrait of Rural Quebec Life

5 min read

Among the writers who did not survive to witness his own success, Louis Heyman is a particularly unfortunate event তাঁর his novel “Maria Chapdaleine” was published in 1913, the same year after his death on a train. Thus he did not see it as an early Quebec-illuminated classic that was taught to a generation of schoolchildren, published in worldwide translation, or transformed into many other media in the last century. Two of the earlier screen versions were made in his own France, 1934 one notable as Jean Gabin’s first collaboration with Julian Duvivier.

The thin book, based on the adventure-seeker Heman’s own experience of working as a farm in the Lac Saint-Jean region, has been treated with more or less strict fidelity by previous playwrights. Sebastian Pilot’s new picture is probably the most trusted so far – although it’s not quite a plus. Handsome and leisurely, this short-lived portrait of rural family life isolated 110 years ago is a labor of love that has no equal level of inspiration. It is a well-known anecdotal story whose events and personalities are too modest to hold up for about three hours of instance, lack of narrative speed and a large casting deficit.

The cultural significance of the source material and the growing representation of a talented director will keep it among the most notable releases of the year in Canada, but this “Maria Chapdeline” lacks the spark that may have given it wings abroad as an attractive art-house or quality-television item.

We first meet the head teenager Maria (newcomer Sarah Montpetet) in public in town before returning home by horse and sled with her father Samuel (Sebastian Ricard) – the last time they will be able to cross the Peribonca River the next winter it freezes again. . This is the last time we’ll see “civilization” for the next 90 minutes, as the Chapdalens live in an inaccessible residence that is almost inaccessible throughout the year. This alienation is a burden for maternal Laura (Helen Florent), whose husband is constantly moving further and further away from their society. In addition to caring for six children on farm labor, she is rarely lazy. But the absence of a community was difficult for him, as was the family’s ongoing livelihood struggle – the older boys already doing seasonal logging work to help everyone.

Unknown to her relatives, Maria ran across a long acquaintance in town: Franোois Paradis (Emil Snyder), who occasionally returned to her upbringing but preferred the fleeting life of a trap, hunting and trading with the aborigines. Despite the rare presence of Francois, something is going on between him and Maria, who is now of marriageable age. Then again, Chapdalein’s only neighbor, close to home by young bachelor farmer Utrop Gagan (Antoine Olivier Pylon), has a more reliable future. Eventually Maria is a third suitor in the form of visiting a stranger Lorenzo Suprenant (Robert Naylor). He also grew up here but now lives in a medium-sized almost unimaginable cosmic environment in the city of Massachusetts, where he works in a factory.

This shy romance provides the suspense of the main narrative here, as it were. Otherwise, “Maria Chapdeline” is mostly about the constant labor and family togetherness of this solitary existence, which the pilot engraves in diligent but pleasing detail. The natural beauty of the landscape in the film by DP Michelle La Vex does not obscure the difficulties of this life, even if the characters allow their hard work. A deadly blizzard and later, a second death can be tragic, but these are also part and parcel of carving an existence in such a challenging wilderness.

Like John Trowell’s “The Immigrants” and its sequel half a century ago, descriptions of the producers ‘self-sufficiency have ample rewards for the filmmakers’ indifferent attention (and production designer Jean Babin). But the great actors in those movies exploit us in “simple” underlying lifestyles, but perfect but compelling characters. It is a measure of the relative failure of “Maria Chapdalein” that when death strikes here, what should be terribly touching is somehow carrying a little mental energy.

You can’t blame Ricard or (especially) Florent, who brings enough depth to parents who love each other when they realize they can be happy with another wife’s choice. There are a few bright support turns from Martin Dubreiul as the family’s season-based hired hand. But chapdeline children don’t give too much personality, even sweaters fail to make a memorable impression, pylon works best in the power of perfect attraction.

An undeniable problem is the most central casting: debuting on his screen, the stage-trained Montpattit doesn’t have to carry the film by himself, but he can’t carry his part. Much closer to the character’s intentional age than previous interpreters (Madeleine Renaud, Michelle Morgan, and Carol Laure were all in their 30s), she holds the character’s dutiful peace – a “far away” from the “free spirit” to the Mading crowd. ”However, nothing is clear below. He still lacks the technique or magnetism to suggest stimulated emotions, which often seem empty even when we should realize the deepest feelings of unspoken thoughts. The result, like Sophia Coppola’s appearance in “The Godfather: Part III”, is not so obvious that there is an error. Still, it’s an indescribable twist that creates a gap where the film has to find the sympathetic core of its power.

This key flaw points to the urgency and lack of involvement that makes this long but indecisive non-epic story feel at once enjoyable and unsatisfactory কম less rich for the film’s Quebec rural story than the lesser Lilola gold standard, Cloud Jutter’s 1971 “Mon” Ankel Antoine. Perhaps defeated by respect for the source material, the pilot brought it into his own small town research, “The Salesman” and “The Fireflies or Gun.” However, its adaptation is surrounded by beautiful and fruitful, thoughtful design elements within its range by an interesting chamber string score by Philip Burlt.

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