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After being the sole unfortunate witness of a domestic quarrel that ends up in a murder, Patrascu finds himself at odds with two very close neighbors: one is the bizarre murderer, the other one his very own conscience.
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October 1970: Under the pretext of waging war against the terrorist group Front de libération du Québec, the Canadian Parliament passes the War Measures Act. The Police and the Army use it and try to break-up popular groups in the Province of Quebec. More than 400 people are arrested for what appears to be their social activities. No charges are ever filed against them. This is their story. Written by
Jean-Marie Berthiaume <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Official submission from Canada for the 1975 Academy Awards. See more »
When Richard Lavoie is arrested, officers ask him his age and birthday. He answer he's 34 and born on January 31th, 1939. Since the events of the movie are all set in October/November 1970, he would only be 31. See more »
This would be a compelling and scary film if it were fiction. But it is in fact, a docudrama based on the worrisome events of the Quebec crisis of 1970. Canadians adulate Pierre Trudeau but forget that he was the one who unleashed a police state on a free country. (We never learn, do we? We did it to the Ukranians in World War I, to the Japanese in World War II and now to Arabs and Muslims. But I digress.) "Les Ordres" captures the gritty reality of working class Montreal with stark black and white footage, punctuated with occasional but effective colour. It takes the unusual but also effective step of having the actors discuss the people they play within the body of the film.
I was left with an understanding of how something like the Gestapo can come about in a civilized society if police are given unfettered powers. The Quebec police and the RCMP came very close to the Gestapo model. Although there were no significant abuses outside Quebec, the law applied to all of Canada. I was a broadcaster in Toronto at the time and it was frightening to realize that for a time freedom of the press did not exist in Canada. This is a powerful and compelling work that deserves wider exposure. It also should be shown in schools as a fundamental example and a discussion starter on the importance of civil rights and the fragility of freedom.
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