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La vraie nature de Bernadette

La Vraie nature de Bernadette

(The True Nature of Bernadette)

Year: 1972
Language: French
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 96 min
Director: Gilles Carle
Producer: Fernand Rivard
Executive Producer: Pierre Lamy
Writer: Gilles Carle
Cinematographer: René Verzier
Editor: Gilles Carle
Sound: Henri Blondeau
Music: Pierre Brault
Cast: Maurice Beaupré, Claudette Delorimier, Robert Rivard, Willie Lamothe, Reynald Bouchard, Donald Pilon, Micheline Lanctôt
Production Company: Les Productions Carle-Lamy Ltée

Bernadette (Lanctôt) is a middle-class mother who takes off for the countryside with her two-year-old son to discover her “true nature.” She becomes an "earth mother," the centre of a community that looks to her for salvation, and where she meets a local farmer (Pilon) who is organizing people politically (politics are often close to the surface in Quebec films of this period). Their relationship anchors the film as Bernadette’s life undergoes complications even she cannot begin to comprehend.

La vraie nature de Bernadette stood at the apex of a wave of Québécois films that had first startled the world in the early 1960s. Carle, who started his career making documentaries at the National Film Board in the early 1960s, had a natural talent for portraying the ordinary, working-class people of Quebec with affection and an endearing sense of humour.

Earthy, witty and humorous, La vraie nature de Bernadette has a beautiful energy that complements the underlying conflicts Carle finds in his society. Immensely entertaining, the film never shies away from the deeper issues he is determined to explore.

When he made La vraie nature de Bernadette, Carle had four features to his credit and was beginning to depict a Quebec divided from and confused by its urban present and rural past. La vraie nature de Bernadette assembled these ideas into Carle’s most complex and satisfying artistic statement; it remains, unquestionably, one of the finest films ever made in this country.

The film had a successful commercial release here and was widely admired in France. It won several Canadian Film Awards.