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16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

A captivating, very touching movie

Author: otaku_ariane from Montréal, Québec
5 July 2003

If I had to use only one word to describe this movie, I'd say "strong". This movie is intense, thought-provoking and at the same time it is very smart.

I think it's pathetic that people said it was either white or black just because it was one of Falardeau's work (and that he's doing "propaganda" for the separatists). That is like saying soveregnists are too dumb to understand what they are fighting for, but the true stupid ones are those who didn't see the shades of grey in this movie. This film was not intended to show "bad guys" and "good guys", it was a movie about five men living hell in a small house for an entire week. Quebecers know their story, so the movie does not tell all the events that happened in Quebec during that time, it tells about something nobody is sure about, because what happened in this little house is only known by the five guys that were there. The movie is based on a book written by one of the guy, 12 years later, but Falardeau also read -many- documents about the events to be sure he was sticking to the facts when it came to the political/historical elements [read his book "La liberté n'est pas une marque de yogourt", for more info].

The "felquistes" have a heart in this movie, but some people think this is just to make us believe they were the "good guys". I believe thinking that is idiotic, because if the felquistes are shown as being nice, it doesn't mean the movie says they did not make a mistake. And a big one. See, that's what I meant about the shades of grey. Also, for younger Quebecers or people outside Quebec, a whole dimension of the movie --and of the felquist act-- is not understood, and that is when they [the felquists] say that they worked for English bosses that did anything they wanted to them. People tend to think the guy that says that in the movie is only talking about HIS situation, but he's talking about the general situation of Quebecers at that time: slaves to the English, "inferior" people that could not be given respectable roles in companies.

The dialogues are very interesting and the actors deliver an incredible performance. The silences toward the end of the film are heavy and highly dramatic... A true must-see for people interested in this part of Quebec's history, but you must know the political/historical/social setting to understand.

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Essential viewing

Author: Dave Boissonneault from Montreal, Quebec
22 June 2004

Again, Falardeau has put his camera where it hurts, where a camera should be ! A lot where fearing a radical, simplistic view of the events of October 1970, but were surprised to witness that the director's take on the FLQ's actions were concentrated mostly on the human aspect. These men were not brainwashed activists or militarily trained supermen, they were Quebec workers, french speaking working class citizens who got fed up with oppression and decided to wake up a nation. But by doing so, one soon realizes that he has to be willing to give up everything for the cause. These guys were not super heroes, they were not mindless protesters; they doubted, they feared, they hoped, they laughed, they cried, they hurt each other, they despaired...they were and are human beings. Real human beings. And that's what interested Falardeau. Ordinary people taking extraordinary measures to shake a system that doesn't want to listen to them. But they found themselves in a dead end once the government decide to send in the army instead of negotiating. If they would have let the hostage go, they're whole operation would have seemed as a farce and the demands of Quebec would once again not be taken seriously. But as they say in the film, they were not murderers. They were faced with a dilemma: go all the way or be forever sheep in a country that does not even recognize the existence of their nation. You can feel all the pressure of that dilemma in "Octobre". And to me, that is the main reason for the film's being. It is not simplistic. It does not evacuate the moral issues of the actions taken by the protagonist. It shows the other side of a revolution, the human difficulties that go with it. And that is no minor task. For once, in Quebec, we were told a story from a non-institutional point of view. And only this, to start with, makes "Octobre" essential viewing.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

It is a shame that this movie was not shown in the United States

Author: N.L. from Philly
3 November 2007

I saw this film shortly after it was released as part of a "sneak peak" series in Philadelphia. Not a single member (including me) of the otherwise well-read and educated audience knew anything about the historical events depicted in the film. This was embarrassing to say the least! In the discussion afterward, it was obvious that the audience universally appreciated the film, but it was also apparent that it would be a hard sell to U.S. ticket-buyers. So it became no surprise that it was not picked up for U.S. distribution. Because of woeful ignorance of most-things-Canadian that exists south of the border - and god forbid! subtitles - OCTOBRE vanished from our radar in the U.S.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

You need to take a distance to appreciate this one

Author: marxisdead from Ottawa, Ontario
3 May 2002

In regards to previous comments, a few things need to be said. First, this movie is not a documentary and it doesn't have the pretension to be one. So I think you need to keep this in mind, and not expect to hear experts come to the camera and give «neutral» and «objective» clarification.

Second, the movie is based on a book written by one of the felquiste. So it would be incorrect to jump to the other extreme and say that the story is «fictionalized». The book, as well as the movie, is written in plain honesty, many years after the events that took place in 1970.

Keeping in mind that the movie depicts the events as seen through the eyes of one of the perpertrators, the movie is extremely effective in showing how Ideals can grasp people, how revolutions (often failed) occur, what it means to believe in something with all your heart. It also shows, and you must be blind not to see this, how events like these might as well take a proportion that was not intended, and that playing with the lives of individuals is not as easy as it might seem in the first place.

Octobre shows the real meaning of politics, of a political event, of a revolution. It shows that political events are never totally black or white.

You might say that because Falardeau is a separatist he doesn't give a neutral or objective point of view, and thus, the movie is biased. I'll be ready to accept this critique when somebody shows me a way to depict such an event in a neutral and objective way. A lot of people won't be able to appreciate Octobre for two possible reasons : a) they lack the necessary background to understand the story, or b) they view the movie as another absurd propaganda from separatists.

Other than that, Falardeau renders very well the tension that builds inside the small house where five people are stuck, waiting for the government to negotiate. It is a very emotional movie ; I saw the movie in Montréal when it came out. There weren't many people in the movie theatre. When the movie ended, I stood up to leave and noticed two older people, a man and a woman. Both we're still looking at the blank screen, silent. I thought that they were probably involved in the FLQ, that they were probably arrested also. Watching this movie must have been very difficult for them, at least this is what their eyes told me.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A very worthwhile film

Author: Carl Fournier (filmbuff1) from Canada
9 September 2007

I have seen this movie twice and both times with English subtitles, but it still doesn't take away from a film that is both powerful and tragic at the same time. It's powerful in that it shows that revolutions and other such acts are carried out by ordinary people placed in extraordinary circumstances. It's tragic because all of the characters attempt to break out their assigned roles and see one another as human and in the end they can't and play them out to the end. The FLQers and their victim are not able to transcend their society and its dictates and so therefore, what happened happened. The only problem I have with this film is the element of inevitability to it, in which in the opening minutes one already knows that it is not bound to begin or end well. That being said, it is worth anyone's time to watch, to study and to understand the tragedy that was the October Crisis in both Quebec and Canada

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Slow - paced, but very interesting

Author: patrickperron from Canada
23 February 2006

First off this movie as to be taken for what it is worth - A historical reconstruction of what might of happen to the four men who kidnapped Pierre Laporte, Ministère du Travail in the cabinet of Robert Bourassa's provincial liberal government in Quebec.

Once that this is taken into consideration, the movie can really be enjoyed. It really differs from any political statements or supposedly "objective" journalist piece on this unforgivable event. What Pierre Falardeau was going for here was to demonstrate the psychological nightmare that these five men went through during that ordeal. This movie is not a historical reconstruction of the events of the October Crisis, and although Falardeau - a personal friend of Francis Simard, one of the kidnappers- is a well-known supporter of Quebec's independence movement, he does not glorify at all what these men did - nor does he criticize it. That's what makes the beauty of this film: Its neutrality in the portrayal of the ordeal. The ordeal is not presented politically, economically, and socially; it is presented in a confined, at times claustrophobic atmosphere. And again, it is about the men involved and how unbearable it must have been in that house. And that fact, i feel is extremely well demonstrated.

Most, if not all, of the movies or documentaries on this event are obviously subjective. The goal of this film is to try and make your feel what dose people must have felt- and that is a very interesting and refreshing take on the event.

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1 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

From a terrorist's point of view

Author: Rowan M from Canada
9 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although the acting and atmosphere of this film are well done, I feel it is very biased. It tries to show the October Crisis from the point of view of a small terrorist group which were responsible for many bombings, hold-ups and innocent deaths during this sad time in Quebec's history. The FLQ were not supported by the majority of Quebecois and they were definitely not supported after they needlessly murdered this man. In fact a majority were in favour of martial law being implemented to end their terrorist activities despite how strongly Quebec, and the rest of Canada, feel about human rights. The FLQ tactics were far beyond necessary for the amount of "oppression" they were under. Yes, it's true that some changes were needed in Quebec at this time, but nothing so serious as to need a murderous violent revolution to solve it. A lot of those problems have been solved since then, through legitimate political means.

I can understand a director wanting to show the human side of people who are not normally presented that way, and I appreciate that, but this director is clearly biased in trying to present the FLQ as if they are innocent idealists who never really wanted to kill but saw no other choice.

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1 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Not too bad, could have been better

Author: Dan Grant ( from Toronto, Ontario
15 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I remember being in university in Ottawa when this film came out. And the way it was advertised on TV it made it look like a horror film. It was even released in October to make me believe perhaps this was some strange homage to Carpenter's Halloween. Oh boy was I wrong. While not the horror film I had hoped for, it was actually the first french film that I had ever seen that came out of Quebec. And it wasn't too bad.

I was born in Montreal and moved to Windsor when I was five years old. It was probably incidences like this that caused my parents to say " we're out of here. " After all they were second generation Qubecois and with all the french fanaticism going on, they just decided they had had enough. Now I'm not sure if this film was designed to show us the plight of these terrorists or if it was made to show them in a bad light, or if it was just a film about an incident that happened in Quebec's history, but what it did to me is made me mad that this incident ever happened.

Terrorism is never the way to solve problems. And yes it showed the human side to a few of the perpetrators in this film, but it still paints them as evil, sadistic bastards. So on that level it worked for me. But as I said, I don't know if I was supposed to be rooting for the bad guys or not. But I wasn't. This is a beautiful country that we live in and to try to dismantle it is an atrocity. Distinct society or not we are all Canadians and that is the way it should stay. Separation is a silly stand that many Quebecois are falsely clinging to. What is so wrong with being Canadian? As for the film itself, as I said, it was well made and interesting. But it made me angry in many areas, and maybe that was the point of it.

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3 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Octobre missed the point: it needs to be redone

Author: gsaville from United States
26 December 2009

Octobre - I have vivid memories of this sad time. I hoped this would be a film with a message for history. I didn't see it.

The idea that characters in this film tried to break out of their role in some human fashion is a mystery to me. The results of real-life October 1970 was not as complex as this film claims: The FLQ kidnapped and murdered a politician. That is not human - it is inhuman.

Another idea in this film is that the terrorists were simply working class people who got fed up with oppression and tried to wake up a nation. Once again the truth I remember in 1970 wasn't that complex. By kidnapping and murdering they became the oppressors they hated. Kafka was right - the rebel who kills the oppressor eventually becomes the oppressor.

Saddest of all for me is the film's implicit message that the FLQ terrorists were somehow faced with a dichotomy: to remain oppressed or to kill their kidnap victim for recognition.

How different is that from Islamic terrorists flying planes into buildings and others who think that they too are oppressed and unrecognized? I hope someone will someday make another film about this sad chapter in Quebec/Canadian history. And I hope that film will portray a vivid lesson that I learned living through that awful time: Murder and violence is an affront to humanity and will never build a civil or livable country! THAT is the only lasting message I remember from the October Crisis.

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5 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Could've been better...

Author: LeRoyMarko from Toronto, Canada
11 February 2002

As a movie, Octobre is not very interesting, except maybe for Quebeckers that might want to renew with a part of their past, in a fictionalized way.

As a documentary, Octobre is totally wrong, showing us just one biased side of the story, failing to describe the reality.

The felquists are well played by the lead actors but the story is not very inspiring. After kidnaping the minister of Labor, Pierre Laporte, they wait for the government to negotiate with them. They want the independence of Québec.

Falardeau, himself in favor of independence from Canada, presents the felquists as heros, good guys that needed to do what they've done, for the «cause». While in fact, these guys are just fanatics that read a little too much books about the Revolution. They had the arrogance to think that they were talking for everybody else, that Quebeckers were a 100% behind them.

So it goes on! They kidnaped the minister but they treat him like a friend. Maybe a little bit more water, monsieur le ministre! We're sorry we have to do that! They even give a good tip to the delivery guy! I think it's a manipulative way for Falardeau to present the felquists as martyrs of the independence. And one of the felquists to say: «If we didn't had heart, we wouldn't be here today»...

As all terrorists, the felquists in this movie had an utopian idea of the country where they wanted to live. They were sure about one thing: they were right. And Falardeau, by making this movie, wants us to have sympathy for those guys. Well, sorry Mr Falardeau, but I think your movie may appeals to some independists from Québec, but no more. Cause, once again, as a movie, it's not that good, and as a documentary, it's just propaganda.

Because of the acting, I gave this movie 73 out of 100. That's good for **½ on a **** stars rating system.

Seen at home in Welland, on January 29th, 2002.

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