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Réjeanne Padovani

Year: 1973
Language: French
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 94 min
Director: Denys Arcand
Producer: Marguerite Duparc
Writer: Jacques Benoît, Denys Arcand
Cinematographer: Alain Dostie
Editor: Marguerite Duparc, Denys Arcand
Music: Willibald Glück
Cast: Paule Baillargeon, Jean Lajeunesse, Margot McKinnon, Luce Guilbeault, Henry Gamer, René Caron, Pierre Thériault, Thérèse Cadorette, Roger Lebel, Frédérique Collin, Hélène Loiselle, Gabriel Arcand, Jacques Leduc, Marguerite Duparc, Jean Lefebvre
Production Company: Cinak Compagnie Cinématographique Ltée.

At his luxurious suburban home, Vincent Padovani (Lajeunesse), a highway developer, gives a dinner party to celebrate the opening of a new highway his company has built.

The guest of honour is Georges Bouchard (Gagnon), the government minister who awarded the contract. The mayor (Caron) and the minis­ter's secretary (Lefebvre) and legal adviser (Lebel), soon to promoted to judge, are among the chosen few attending. The police officers assigned to guard the politicians are gathered in the basement bar with Padovani's "boys."

They learn from a journalist that a demonstration is planned to protest the new highway. Meanwhile, Padovani's former wife, Réjeanne (Guilbeault), shows up unannounced with her new husband begging to see her children. Réjeanne's arrival sets in motion a series of events — a shot is fired, which goes unheard because of fireworks on the front lawn. Réjeanne's body is disposed of beneath the highway, just before the inauguration, which proceeds as planned.

Réjeanne Padovani's clear denunciation of the shady links between politicians, businesspeople and organized crime is more than a sociological statement or an exposé of corruption: its scrupulously composed images, its editing struc­ture (especially the above and below stairs dichotomy), and its use of sound eloquently depict the contradictions of the social order in Quebec in a style that recalls Denys Arcand’s earlier film La maudite galette (1972).

This biting social satire helped establish Arcand’s reputation as one of Quebec’s top directors. It was a con­siderable critical and commercial suc­cess in Canada and abroad, in both French and English. The film won a Canadian Film Award for best original screenplay in 1973.