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Year: 1998
Language: French
Format: 35mm Colour/Black & White
Runtime: 83 min
Director: Robert Lepage
Producer: Bruno Jobin
Writer: Robert Lepage, André Morency
Cinematographer: Pierre Mignot
Editor: Aube Foglia
Sound: Raymond Vermette
Cast: Richard Fréchette, Marie Gignac, Marie Brassard, Eric Bernier, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Alexis Martin
Production Company: Alliance Communications, In Extremis Images

Inspired in part by his critically acclaimed play The Seven Streams of the River Ota, Robert Lepage’s is a light-hearted political farce that juxtaposes two possible meanings of the word ‘no’ – the Noh of traditional Japanese theatre and the ‘Non’ of Quebec separation.

Sophie (Anne-Marie Cadieux) is a Québécoise actress who finds herself with a theatre troupe in Osaka performing a French farce during the 1970 World’s Fair. After becoming nauseous while attending a performance of a Noh play and discovering soon after that she is pregnant, Sophie must decide whether to remain in Japan and have a legal abortion or return to Montreal and either abort illegally or keep the child.

Back in Montreal, Trudeau has imposed the War Measures Act and Sophie’s separatist boyfriend Michel (Alexis Martin) is trapped in his apartment making bombs and harbouring fugitives while the police conduct round-the-clock surveillance. Things quickly spin out of control for Sophie when she agrees to dinner with a cultural attaché and his abrasive wife, leading to a liaison that soon resembles the farce Sophie was performing in.

A clever and compelling film that explores the junction of languages, cultures and personal desires, features Lepage’s trademark multi-threaded narrative approach and inventive visual flair while de-emphasizing his usual psychological complexity in favour of a much lighter tone. It won the Toronto-City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the 1998 Toronto International Film Festival® and the Best Canadian Film award at the Sudbury Cinéfest. It enjoyed a modest theatrical release and was nominated for three Genie Awards and six Jutras, but won none.

By: Liz Czach

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