Prejudice, perfidy, love, and bravery in Québec. In 1779, a priest on his deathbed receives a young woman. Flash back 20 years: Marie-Loup, an herb-dispensing peasant, falls for François, a man of property. The priest's perfidy and the treachery of a soldier separate the lovers and set in motion a chain of events leading to a death, a trial, and an execution. The action unfolds against a backdrop of England's take-over of French-Canada, the Church's manipulations to maintain spiritual hegemony, and the limited rights of woman and indigenous peoples. Watching it all is Marie-Loup's daughter, named France, who, when grown, is the dying priest's visitor in prelude and coda. Written by
Ultimately, this movie is a Brazilian soap opera. There are intrigues and billets-doux. The pop theme, recorded by an orchestra in Prague, is good but over-used. At least seven or eight crescendos cover various characters when they either grasp each other, look at each other or wistfully stare out windows while thinking of each other.
I didn't mind the historical and geographical inaccuracies. The need for financing seems to have motivated scenes of Pitt and Voltaire. (Was the inclusion of Franklin a failed attempt at American financing?) In fact, these scenes were not necessary since the movie used symbolism. The basic facts arguably fit the presentation. A case can be made that New France was abandoned by France, abused by the Catholic Church and strung up by England. Marie-Loup, get it? In the movie, she is illiterate but very articulate. Indeed, everyone spoke with modern international accents from mouths with white straight teeth. (So what! It's only a movie!)
Jean Beaudin made "J. A. Martin Photographe" which was both a beautiful and sensitive movie with Monique Mercure in the lead. She's in this one too but her presence only hearkens to the past. Despite its flaws, I enjoyed "Nouvelle France" but I'd probably enjoy any movie about the history of northern North America. If you have no interest in such history, this movie will be a convoluted Brazilian soap opera.
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