Joyeux Calvaire (1996)

 |  Drama  |  29 November 1996 (USA)
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In Montreal, the wanderings of two urban homeless, Marcel, an old timer and Joseph, who just landed in the big city. Both philosophers and resourceful nice bums roam the streets of the ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lorne Brass ...
Gaston Lepage ...
Benoît Brière ...
André Mélançon ...
Patrice Dubois ...
Son petit chien
Jean-Louis Martin ...
Norman Helms ...
Le concierge
René Pothier ...
L'homme à la tuque
Luc Senay ...
Le fou répétitif
Richard Fréchette ...
Le gérant du cinéma
Le gardien de la gare
Josée Beaulieu ...
La folle du métro
René Richard Cyr ...
Ellen David ...
Pénitente de l'Oratoire
Pénitente de l'Oratoire


In Montreal, the wanderings of two urban homeless, Marcel, an old timer and Joseph, who just landed in the big city. Both philosophers and resourceful nice bums roam the streets of the metropolis in search of Stanley, the only friend of Marcel and who has not been heard of since a long time. Throughout their adventures, the two men forged an unbreakable friendship. Will they find Stanley before it's too late? Written by Paulo Ramirez

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

poverty | tramp | See All (2) »







Release Date:

29 November 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Poverty and Other Delights  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$24,790 (USA) (29 November 1996)


$24,790 (USA) (29 November 1996)

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Features The Confessional (1995) See more »


Harlem Nocturne
Performed by Sam Taylor & His All Star Jazz
From "Blue Mist Sam (The Man) Taylor)"
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Projects
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User Reviews

Unsentimental View of Homelessness
25 January 2005 | by (Montreal, Quebec) – See all my reviews

A kind of 'Waiting for Godot' in mirror-reflection--peripatetic, ambulatory, not hopeless.

Two homeless men walk from place to place in Montreal, one a good talker, one a good listener. We see the routine, the expectations and treatment of homeless people in this city. Nothing much happens to the main characters; rather, we see their connections to the people they once were via flashback and the connections they have now lost to society; we also see other homeless people who are in far worse shape.

Denys Arcand's directorial style is unsentimental and certainly unprepossessing. The camera generally follows them around not looking for pseudo-poetic moments; instead, it regards them. Many, if not all, of the characters really are homeless people, but this is done without an overt intention to re-dramatize as it is simply to hear stories told or see what people offer of themselves in a short space of time.

This is not a message movie but one that holds a mirror up to the way these two people and the people they meet live and talk. That, in itself, is enough. I suppose you could consider this as part of a genre of 'walking' movies, if you wanted to include Richard Linklater's work, and Gus van Sant's 'Gerry', but the tone here is neither philosophical nor introspective. It is simply put a day in the lives of these two men, with more pointed flashbacks.

Arcand's reputation took a bit of a hit with this film, in the sense that it was something to do between major fiction projects, and in the sense of 'so what', 'we know this already', but it is enough for me for this film to have captured a time and place and the people in it. One thing for sure, Montreal in '95, '96 was at the bottom of its economic cycle. The city is much improved since then, mercifully.

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