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Montréal Blues

(Montreal Blues)

Year: 1972
Language: French
Format: Super 16mm Colour
Runtime: 100 min
Director: Pascal Gélinas
Producer: Jean Dansereau
Cinematographer: Allan Smith
Editor: Pascal Gélinas
Music: Louis Baillargeon
Cast: Raymond Cloutier, Guy Thauvette, Suzanne Garceau, Lisette Anfousse, Claude Laroche, Francince Lapan, Jocelyn Bérubé
Production Company: Les Ateliers du Cinéma Québécois Inc.

Montréal Blues is one of two films (the other being 1970’s Le Grand Film ordinaire ou Jeanne d'Arc n'est pas morte, se porte bien, et vit au Québec) that features Le Grand Cirque ordinaire, a collective theatre group founded in 1969 that used improvisation and drew on traditions of vaudeville and the Commedia dell’Arte. Its tours across Quebec were immensely popular, especially the performance of their first piece, T’es pas tannée Jeanne D’Arc, which formed the basis of  Le Grand Film ordinaire.

Unlike that film, which was intended as a documentary but became an extension of the original staging, Montréal Blues was created especially for the screen. It depicts a group of young dropouts who live in a commune and open a health-food restaurant. Shot in the summer of 1971, the film was the group’s last public effort, as the provincial government subsequently cut off its funding and it was forced to disperse.

By: Peter Morris

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