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Le Père Chopin

(L’Oncle du Canada)

Year: 1944
Language: French
Format: 35mm Black & White
Runtime: 109 min
Director: Fédor Ozep, Georges Freedland
Producer: Charles Philipp
Writer: Jean Desprez, Charles Philipp
Cinematographer: Don Malkames
Editor: Georges Freedland
Sound: Walter Darling
Music: Rudolph Goehr
Cast: Madelaine Ozeray, Marcel Chabrier, François Rozet, Pierre Durand, Janine Sutto, Guy Mauffette
Production Company: Renaissance Films Inc.

Le PPre Chopin tells the story of two estranged brothers in Quebec. Paul Dupont (Marcel Chabrier) is a poor musician who leads a happy life with his family and has the friendship and respect of his community. Pierre Dupont (Pierre Durand) is a rich but lonely industrialist who does not want to die alone and adopts a family from France. After rediscovering the value of love, Pierre is reunited with his brother.

This film, a watershed in indigenous Quebec production, was the brainchild of producer Charles Phillip. Capitalizing on the wartime shortage of French-language films in the province, Philipp commissioned a script and hired globe-trotting, Russian-born director Fédor Ozep and a largely American crew to put it together. The film enjoyed considerable popular success in Quebec, playing for weeks in a 2,380-seat theatre in Montreal and recovering its $200,000 production costs. The film was praised by audiences and critics, who were delighted to see Quebec characters and society portrayed on the screen.

The overall success of Le PPre Chopin (except for its lukewarm response in France, where it was released under the title L’Oncle du Canada) encouraged the production and distribution of several other features by Renaissance Films in the late forties.