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Year: 2001
Language: English
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 95 min
Director: Catherine Martin
Producer: Lorraine Dufour
Writer: Catherine Martin
Cinematographer: Jean-Claude Labrecque
Editor: Lorraine Dufour
Sound: Marcel Chouinard
Music: Robert Lepage
Cast: Hélène Loiselle, Markita Boies, Marie-Ève Bertrand, Guylaine Tremblay, Mirianne Brûlé
Production Company: Coop Vidéo de Montréal
Mariages is an engaging and sensual film that heralds a strong new voice in Canadian filmmaking. Set in the Quebec countryside at the end of the nineteenth century, it tells the story of one young woman’s resistance to Victorian oppression.

Yvonne (Marie-Ove Bertrand) is a sensual twenty-year-old who is most comfortable in the woods, enjoying the freedom that nature affords her. She lives with her oppressive older sister HélPne (Guylaine Tremblay), who disapproves of Yvonne’s indulgences and has raised her with the expectation that she will enter a convent. HélPne is particularly shocked by Yvonne’s nude swims in a nearby stream.

Trapped between her own passions and her sister’s expectations, Yvonne is determined to live life on her own terms. After an encounter with Charles, the mysterious son of a wealthy neighbour, she feels she has met a kindred spirit. Upon learning he has been promised in marriage to her niece, Yvonne is crushed, but not defeated. When the body of her long-dead mother is exhumed to be reburied, the discovery that the body is perfectly preserved (is she a saint? an otherworldly spirit?) liberates Yvonne's true sexual nature and gives her the courage to pursue her desires.

Distinguished by the sensual, evocative cinematography of Jean-Claude Labrecque, Mariages is an ethereal film with the structure of a fable or fairy tale. A beautifully filmed tale of personal awakening, Catherine Martin’s auspicious debut feature, which was named one of Canada’s Top Ten of 2001 by an independent panel of filmmakers, programmers, journalists and industry professionals, was met with critical praise but did not capture the interest of a broader audience.