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Ti-cul Tougas

Year: 1976
Language: French
Format: 16mm Colour
Runtime: 83 min
Director: Jean-Guy Noël
Producer: René Gueissaz, Marc Daigle
Writer: Jean-Guy Noël
Cinematographer: François Beauchemin
Editor: Marthe de la Chevrotière
Sound: Hugues Mignault
Music: Georges Langford
Cast: Suzanne Garceau, Claude Maher, Gilbert Sicotte, Robert Leclerc, Louise Forestier, Micheline Lanctôt, Gabriel Arcand
Production Company: Association Coopérative des Productions Audio-visuelles

After stealing the $5,000 payroll of their friends’ brass band, Rémi Tougas – known as Ti-cul (Claude Maher) – and Odette (Micheline Lanctôt) escape to the Madeleine Islands, where they stay with Odette’s friend Gilberte (Suzanne Garceau). They plan to leave for California as soon as possible but Gilberte is depressed because her lover is in a coma following a motorcycle accident.

The next day, Martin (Gilbert Sicotte), a member of the band, arrives to recover the money. After a violent confrontation, Ti-cul convinces Martin he is innocent and that the money was stolen by a couple in a blue Datsun. Martin falls in love with Gilberte and finds himself becoming increasingly involved with the group, even though Gilberte continues to ignore the whole story of the theft.

While Martin and Gilberte spend the night together, Ti-cul and Odette take a trip to Prince Edward Island. When they return, they learn Martin has found the money Ti-cul hid under the seat of the car, and that he refuses to return it. However, Odette reveals that she and Gilberte have been planning a trip to California for the four of them; Ti-cul agrees to this since it is the only way he can keep his hands on the money. The two couples cross the border into Maine, singing “Sweet Dreams in California.”

Jean-Guy Noël’s second feature was a popular success and confirmed the emergence of a major new talent in Quebec cinema. Though its theme is not new, its portrait of four people living out dreams of romance and adventure is staged and acted with a fine balance of delicate comedy and emotion that never lapses into farce or melodrama.

By: Peter Morris