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Les bons débarras

Les Bons Débarras

(Good Riddance)

Year: 1980
Language: French
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 114 min
Director: Francis Mankiewicz
Producer: Claude Godbout, Marcia Couëlle
Writer: Réjean Ducharme
Cinematographer: Michel Brault
Editor: André Corriveau
Sound: Henri Blondeau
Music: Bernard Buisson
Cast: Germain Houde, Serge Thériault, Charlotte Laurier, Roger Lebel, Louise Marleau, Marie Tifo, Gilbert Sicotte
Production Company: Les Productions Prisma Inc.

In an isolated rural area in Quebec, thirteen�€'year­-old Manon (Charlotte Laurier) lives with her mother Michelle (Marie Tifo) and her uncle Guy (Germain Houde), who has a developmental disability. They eke out an existence by chopping wood and selling it as firewood. Manon is precocious, sensitive and obsessed with maintaining an exclusive claim on her mother's love. Guy lives in a world of his own, romantically roused by his response to the wealthy Madam Viau-Vachon (Louise Marleau).

Michelle, meanwhile, is surrounded by people who demand her affection. Apart from Manon and Guy, there are Michelle’s boyfriend Maurice (Roger Lebel) and Gaetan (Gilbert Sicotte), a me­chanic and friend of Manon’s. When Michelle discovers she is pregnant, Manon anguishes over the news and then leaves home. Upon her return, she proceeds to drive Guy to suicide and persuades Michelle to cut ties from Maurice and the outside world.

Set during a cold, grey autumn in the Lauren­tians, Les Bons Débarras presents a fallen world seen through the eyes of an obsessive young girl. Francis Mankiewicz’s gothic tale of passion, jealousy and all�€'embracing love evidences his subtle emotional power and features a strikingly original antagonist in the character of Manon, a dangerously compelling seductress who wreaks havoc out of a need to control those she loves.

Les Bons Débarras won eight Genie Awards, including the award for best film. Saturated with a deep and satisfying melancholy, the film combines austere, evocative imagery, spare narrative action and brilliant performances build to a horrific climax that has the evil menace of a sinister dream.