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  • I went into this movie not knowing what to expect other than some sort of patriotic political drama. So it was with great surprise that I found myself (along with a couple of others in the theatre) laughing quite a lot. Indeed we are dealing with serious subjects here, workers rights in the mining industry, Québécois people still under the thumb of «les Anglais», Church and Government in bed together, working orphans, etc. But Forcier throws in lots of low-brow humor with some over the top stereotypical portrayals of Anglo-Franco relations and «syndicalisme». Of course there are also possibly too many «intimate moments» which get turned into ridicule. Somewhere after the halfway mark, the movie does get a little more tragic, as the consequences of bad choices come to the foreground, but there still remains some «humour jaune» moments. In the end, I was left with the impression of having seen a moving (literally) portrait of days past.

    PS. Certain images will remain in my mind forever, one in particular competing with «Something about Mary» for best ever cinema goop shot.
  • Probably one of the worst films I have ever seen. The script is incredibly tedious and heavy handed where characters speak in as natural and unrehearsed a manner as a priest on Christmas eve. In fact the preposterous and cumbersome writing goes to such an extreme that it often had the audience brimming with fits of laughter. The cast, many who have excelled in other features, struggle and fail to deliver their lines or characters with any level of veracity SAVE for the actress who plays Mathilde. Perhaps it is because her role is such a caricature that her over the top portrayal does not jar. The inclusion of Liam (by Roy Dupuis) sends this movie in the absolute stratospheres of divine comedy. How on earth he selected this role let alone played it with a straight face boggles the mind. In conclusion the only reason this movie does not deserve the lowest of scores is twofold: 1 as a lesson in how NOT to mold characters and 2 for its beautifully unintentional hilarity.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    André Forcier knows it : he is a U.F.O. in Québec's (French Canada) current filmmaking crowd, probably being one of the last torchbearers of the 60s-70s-80s wave, during which filmmakers where not necessarily in touch with the people.

    This is not bad in itself : national directors of the time had their own visions, as some of writers (like Victor-Lévy Beaulieu) still have their own.

    In the case of « Je me souviens », this vision produces a mixed bag, or an heterogeneous one in fact, as if two different films had been made in one.

    The first part of the movie is the most earthbound one. We see Abitibi's miners movement getting together to form an union against abusive work practises, leaning toward a better life in times of austerity and religious control. Nationalism, unionism, communism, capitalism, right-wing governmental control are all presented in a rather interesting historical - if a bit comedy-deformed - light.

    So good so far, the movie is both intriguing and interesting.

    Passed 42-43 minutes, the director lapses back into his own fantasy world, and forgets that there is an audience out there. Men fall for improbable adultery situations, and enrol themselves into French's « Légion étrangère » to get out of it. A girl born from a faulty union refuses to love her mother, yet embraces the ways and Gaelic language of the first Irish stranger to come up, and is happy once her mother dies by falling into a frozen lake. And a lot of people hate the guts out of themselves... for nothing.

    Simply put, the second half of the movie just doesn't make sense, as many Québec-born did during the 60-80s era. This is not to say I do not like the period (Réjeanne Padovani, Gina, Les Dernières funérailles and many other films were great), but « Je me souviens » just fails to stay coherent after the 42th minute mark. It becomes another weird fantasy of someone who seems to have lost faith in Québec, and refuses to realize that nationalism does not equate stagnation or living in the past.

    Bottom line : « Je me souviens » is formed of two halves, the first one being interesting, and the other one a simple curiosity.