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Criticism of ‘Maria Chapdelaine’: Romanticism in the woods

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Sebastien Pilote directs this adaptation of the homonymous novel published in 1913 by Louis Hémon.

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    ‘Maria Chapdelaine’ is a short story as long as a day without bread and with western aromas. Its greatest attraction is the masterful description of a precise space, environment and rhythm of life: a family of settlers in a splendid forest. In few films have the protagonists been seen to work so much: cutting down trees and more trees, feeding the herd, cultivating the land… It is admirable the way in which Pilote contemplates even the smallest details (the smoke on the porch to ward off mosquitoes, the excursion in search of blueberries, etc.) the daily life of these people through the seasons of the year, as well as their hospitality in the scenes in which they receive visitors, such as the very crowded evening where social issues (civilization versus rural environment) are discussed.

    The rhythm is systematically slow, parsimonious, sometimes contemplative, something that undoubtedly gives the final stretch, rather tiring, but that does not invalidate the powerful visual and compositional force of the whole. Less interesting is the sentimental chapter of the protagonist, among other reasons due to the lack of charisma of the actress Sara Montpetit.

    For enthusiasts of period cinema rigorous in the observation of environments and customs

    The best: the ability to familiarize ourselves with the lives of the characters.

    The worst: falters in the final half hour.

    DATA SHEET

    Address: Sebastian Pilote Distribution: Antoine-Olivier Pilon, Sébastien Ricard, Robert Naylor, Danny Gilmore, Hélène Florent, Gilbert Sicotte Country: Canada Year: 2021 Release date: 5–08-2022 Gender: Drama Script: Sebastian Pilot. Novel: Louis Hemon Duration: 158 minutes

    Synopsis: October 2015. French customs agents seize seven tons of cannabis in the heart of the capital. On the same day, Hubert Antonie, a former mole with a cloudy past, contacts Stéphane Vilner, a journalist for Libération. He assures that he can prove the existence of a state drug trafficker led by Jacques Billard, a high-ranking French media figure and police officer. Although initially suspicious, the young journalist eventually dives into the investigation, which leads him into the darkest corners of the Republic.

    Source: Fotogramas

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