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Chronicles seven years in the difficult lives of the Plouffe family, who live in Basse-Ville area of Quebec City. Beginning with the final years of the depression, the family is shattered by the economic crisis. Theophile, the father, was once a champion cyclist but is now a typesetter for the Christian Action newspaper and on the verge of retirement. Josephine, the mother, is devoutly devoted to the church and her family. Napoleon, the oldest son, is unemployed and in love with Jeanne, a waitress dying from Tuberculosis. Guillaume is the athlete, being trained in vain by Napoleon to become a great cyclist despite being a baseball fanatic. Cecile is the oldest and only daughter, still unmarried in her 40s, working in a shoe factory, and in love with a married bus driver. Finally is Ovide, the intellectual opera singer who turned away from the priesthood his mother destined him for out of love for Rita Toulouse, a flirtatious woman pursued by all the young men in town. When WWII ...Written by
-Au début des années 1980's, le film de Denis Héroux et Gilles Carle, relance l'intérêt pour Les Plouffe. Ce film était très ambitieux, avec un budget de plus de 5 millions, la somme la plus importante de l'histoire cinématographique du Québec. See more »
Populist french Canadian film made during the tax credit period
Based on the novel by Roger Lemelin written in 1948. Les Plouffe tells the story of a roman catholic french Canadian family from Quebec city circa 1930 to 1945. It was adapted as a long running live television series from 1953 to 1959 under the title "La Famille Plouffe" on the french Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Radio Canada) network.
In 1980 film maker Gilles Carle set out to make a feature length motion picture with producers husband and wife Justine and Denis Heroux and John Kemeny. As many of those tax credit deals worked, they needed a signed broadcast deal to get the financing together and Radio Canada stepped. The film was released in 1981 to great acclaim and a longer two part version was later broadcast on CBC television and on Radio Canada television.
While the longer version has more depth of character and takes its time to give further context to its action, the theatrical film moves along and has the virtue of being punchier and more energetic. It is a populist story that shows the social and political context of french Canada between the wars very well. We see the shackles of the Catholic Church and the growing strain the population felt under its restrictions. We see the sentiment in French Canada against the British monarchy and the fear of conscription in the upcoming war. We are shown the unrelieved poverty many french Canadian families lived in during the depression. All four of the Plouffe children live with their parents and work to contribute to the family earnings. Each in his or her own way yearns to get out on their own.
Following the success of "Les Plouffe" Lemelin wrote a sequel book under the title "Le Crime d'Ovide Plouffe" which became an immediate best seller in Quebec. It was quickly adapted into a two part television miniseries directed by Denis Arcand of "The Decline Of The American Empire" fame.
The DVD for "Les Plouffe" would have to wait for release until the 21st century.
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