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Le Coeur au poing


Year: 1998
Language: French
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 97 min
Director: Charles Binamé
Producer: Lorraine Richard
Executive Producer: Marie-France Lemay
Writer: Charles Binamé, Monique Proulx
Cinematographer: Pierre Gill
Editor: Claude Palardy
Sound: Claude Beaugrand, Hans Strobl, Michel Charron
Music: Richard Grégoire, Yves Desrosiers, Lhasa Sela
Cast: Micheline Lanctôt, Luc Picard, Guylaine Tremblay, Pascale Monpetit, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Guy Nadon, Stéphane Breton, Rita Lafontaine
Production Company: Cité-Amérique
Le CÉur au poing is the second film in director Charles Binamé’s improvised, cinéma vérité-style trilogy about life in urban Montreal leading up to the millennium (the companion films are Eldorado, 1995, and La Beauté de Pandore, 2000). Louise (Pascale Monpetit) is a lost soul who lives in an empty apartment managed by her sister, Paulette (Anne-Marie Cadieux). Louise’s affair with the married Julien (Guy Nadon) helps her to occasionally escape her solitary existence, but their brief snatches of romance only leave her craving more.

Recalling the wide-eyed and bewildered protagonists of Federico Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits (1965) and Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves (1996), Louise tries to connect with humanity by casting her fate to the wind. She begins offering her obedient service – for exactly one hour – to people she bumps into on the street. These surreal, sometimes sexual, life lessons build to a violent crisis and, as her behaviour becomes increasingly dangerous and addictive, Julien and Paulette intervene in a tender reconciliation.

Following the same freewheeling style used throughout the trilogy, Binamé and novelist Monique Proulx crafted the script from material developed in improv sessions with the actors. Pascale Monpetit’s volatile, wonderfully expressive performance echoes Binamé’s gritty, stylish direction. A multiple award winner on the international festival circuit, Le CÉur au poing earned two Genie Award nominations and won Jutra Awards for Lead Actress (Monpetit) and Supporting Actress (Cadieux).

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