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Les dernières fiançailles

Les Dernières Fiançailles

(The Last Betrothal)

Year: 1973
Language: French
Format: 16mm Colour
Runtime: 91 min
Director: Jean Lefebvre
Producer: Bernard Lalonde, Marguerite Duparc
Writer: Jean Lefebvre
Cinematographer: Guy Dufaux
Editor: Marguerite Duparc
Sound: Jacques Blain
Music: Andrée Paul
Cast: Marthe Nadeau, J.-Léo Gagnon, Marcel Sabourin
Production Company: Les Productions Prisma Inc., Cinak Compagnie Cinématographique Ltée.
Seventy-eight-year-old Armand Tremblay (J.-Léo Gagnon) and his seventy-five-year-old wife Rose (Marthe Nadeau) have lived together for more than fifty years on a piece of land they cleared themselves. During the long winters, Armand busies himself with his clock collection and Rose feeds the chickens, bakes bread and cleans the house. When spring finally arrives, they embrace the chance to work the freshly thawed earth and enjoy watching the crocuses come into bloom. As Armand and Rose dedicate themselves to the ritual preparation of their vegetable garden, Armand suffers a relapse of a serious heart condition and, fearing he is near death, refuses to be taken to the hospital. Rose, meanwhile, promises to die with her husband.

Perhaps the most widely admired of Jean Pierre Lefebvre’s many remarkable films, Les Dernières Fiançailles is a moving, respectful and unsentimental portrait of life, love, death and the passage of time. Austere, free of cynicism and strikingly beautiful, it is Lefebvre’s most joyfully humanistic film. It was shot with a meticulous sense of rhythm and staging, its transcendent and magical ending – which features Armand and Rose unearthing seeds that will bloom eternally before being escorted into heaven by two angels – constitutes one of the most spiritual moments in Canadian cinema.