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 <email@example.com>
The film is based on interviews with five actual people who were imprisoned during the 1970 October Crisis in the province of Quebec, Canada. 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 »
In October, 1970, Canada's War Measures Act allowed authorities to arrest and imprison anybody that they suspected of domestic terrorism in association with the FLQ (Front de Libération du Québec). As a result, over four-hundred innocent Montreal citizens were wrongly incarcerated. Fifty of them gave their stories to director-writer Michel Brault. From their stories, five composite characters were created for "Les Ordres": a unionized labourer (Clermont Boudreau) and his wife (Hélène Loiselle) who are raising three school-age daughters; an unemployed father (Claude Gauthier) who cares for a baby and toddler at home; a social worker (Louise Forestier) who advocates for welfare recipients; and a doctor (Guy Provost) who has been involved in socialist politics.
Even before the arrests have begun, the story shows how bleak life is for the working-class and the poor. However, this appears relatively mild compared to the shocks that are yet to come. Brault shows brilliance in his subtlety during the arrest scenes. His level of detail for nuanced yet important actions have at least as much impact as violence does in other films especially the situations where children are to be left without a caretaker at home. And his intermingling of the various arrest scenes is done perfectly. Not only do they flow well together; they even have more impact when shown simultaneously.
The second half of the film takes place in the men's and women's prisons. While these scenes have less impact than those in the first half, the theme of a shocking injustice continues especially the abuses in the men's prison.
The performances are uniformly strong and moving. The actors convey to the audience what it would be like to enter an unexpected nightmare with apparently no end in sight.
One of the reasons this docudrama feels like a thriller is that it took place in Canada, let alone under the popular Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Considering similar incidents during the past few years (the scandalous G20 Toronto conference), it shows that certain freedoms can never be taken for granted. - dbamateurcritic
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: Directing by Michel Brault
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