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L' Hiver bleu

(Blue Winter)

Year: 1979
Language: French
Format: 16mm Colour
Runtime: 82 min
Director: André Blanchard
Producer: Marguerite Duparc
Writer: André Blanchard, Jeanne Mance-Delisle
Cinematographer: Alain Dupras
Editor: Francis van den Heuvel, Ginette Leduc
Sound: Robert Girard
Cast: Christiane Lévesque, Nicole Scant, Michel Chénier, Réjean Roy, Alice Pomerleau, Roland Pelletier, Lise Pichette
Production Company: Cinak Ltd.

Two young women, Christiane (Christiane Lévesque) and Nicole (Nicole Scant), leave their village in the northwest region of Quebec for the larger Abitibi town of Rouyn, where they live in a communal house. Christiane plans to finish her studies at the local college; Nicole dreams of travel and plans to work to earn money. She works as a waitress and a receptionist, moves out of the communal house and eventually leaves for South America. Christiane has trouble adjusting to college and becomes interested in political and social problems. She meets Michel (Michel Chénier), a CEGEP instructor, and with him joins a group concerned with injured workers. Michel asks Christiane to go with him to the Gaspé, but she declines, moves in with politically committed Lise (Lise Pichette), and drops out of college.

André Blanchard’s second feature, produced on a modest budget of $97,000, is an amazingly fresh portrait not only of Abitibian culture but of two women at an important series of crossroads in their lives. Deceptively casual in style and appealingly humorous in several of its anecdotal scenes, L’Hiver bleu’s great strength lies in its unschematic characterization of the two women and the different realities they experience. Despite a mostly enthusiastic critical reception, the film did not do well at the box office. It is, however, a key film, representative of the younger generation of Quebec directors of the period.

Music by Les Anonymes d'Évias.

By: Peter Morris

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