Add a Review

  • In this movie's script, the Montreal writer's wish to connect with his city's history takes us on a first trip back in time to the 1200s; then the 1500s; the 1800s.

    With each return to the present, we rejoin the Mohawk archaeologist and follow along in his quest to find physical evidence for the exact location, on the Island of Montreal, for the village called "Hochelaga".

    In recorded history, we can read the words of Jacques Cartier, who describes his arrival in the village and his meeting with the Elders.

    Each voyage back in time means entering drastically different moments in the history of the City of Montreal: in the 12002, Iroquoian is spoken; in the 1500s, French, Latin & Mohawk are spoken; in the 1800s, French, English & Mohawk are spoken; in present day, Mohawk, French & English are spoken. Of course, sub-titles help us along in the separating out, and weaving back together of events over an eight-century span of time, and the Mohawk archaeologist's need to reach back and make real his ancestors.

    The year 2017 marked the 150th anniversary of the creation of (on July 1st 1867) of "The Dominion of Canada". Among others, one aboriginal filmmaker, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril (Angry Inuk / 2016), who is Inuit from Nunavut in northern Canada, called for Canadians to see why she would add two zeros to 150 years. In the months leading up to the July 1st celebration, the Inuit, Innu, First Nations and Métis peoples expressed how overlooked they felt, saying that the July 1st date, significant to European settlers, ignores the virtual wiping out of a multitude of peoples living here for centuries before the arrival of Jacques Cartier.

    Today, I entered the packed 350-seat theater, where most in attendance were over the age of 35. I could have heard a pin drop during the movie. As it concluded, a single person way down in front began to clap. A moment later others joined in. About 70% of those in attendance began to clap as well. I sat, quiet, just taking it all in. "It" being a collective experience, a collective moment, a collective happening.

    As I slowly walked back to my car, I thought: _ for all the talk we heard, back in July 2017, from those who say that Canada was born in 1867, what I experienced in a movie theater today tells me, that collectively, we all know otherwise.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Hochelaga, Land of Souls took home an armful of national awards for cinematography and art direction, and there is some competence in filmmaking from the director of the fantastic (and structurally similar) The Red Violin (1998). A series of short films rolled into one, as François Girard is known for, the stories are inconsistent in their punch, and in the end there's little impact for those looking beyond technical excellence.

    The overarching mini story involves the archaeology grad student struggling to pay rent and get study grants, which is relatable enough. The sad sob music playing when a football player is killed during a game feels very heavy-handed, but given the outpouring of emotion over the Humboldt bus crash this year, I suppose people really would feel that depressed. The next mini story is the best at establishing passion and feeling, in part because it begins with body on body, and also the religious conflict, the threatening Christian evangelicals against the Great Spirit.

    In comparison, the next couple stories are exceedingly dry and ham handed, and bring down the entire film. We have an old lady helping rebels for reasons we don't know and can't feel, and see her having a tense conversation with a British officer that's hard to care about. Okay, they knew each other for years, but are we really supposed to be impressed by dialogue such as the old lady saying speaking with him is the worst torture imaginable? Finally we have Jacques Cartier.

    By the way, for a story about archaeology, that's not how it works. When you dig, the most recent is on the upper layers; the deeper, the older. They should have found the rebels first, the colonial-religious conflict next and, yes, Cartier last. That kind of reflects the film: disorganized, half-baked. As a recognition of Quebec's indigenous history, it gives us native characters who rise a little bit above the noble-savage/victims archetypes, but not by much.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The preview was very well done, but I decided, for 'serendipity' reasons to wait for the free streaming. Good decision, because you can accelerate the long boring moments, including the sex scene, which is out of place and annoying. There's very good actors (including Raoul Trujillo, the cruel chief of Apocalypto), but most are badly employed and seem to act without much motivation. I hate 'flashbacks', most of the time, they encumber a film with frustration for the viewers, but may be good for popcorn & commercial$? ... And it's full of it. Talking about advertising, now that POT is legally in sales in Canada, it would have been a good idea to see indigenous giving cannabis to smoke to Jacques Cartier, to cover his bad odor. I would have suggested giving the archeologist another week to dig for this, I'm sure he could have done a valuable discovery.
  • This is just a miss as I'm concerned. The premise to begin the whole enterprise is just a joke. The main actor (Samian) is just boring and without any kind of deepness in his role (he's a singer, but he's clearly not an actor).

    The movie is slow and full of dull poetic tries that go nowhere (they try to fill the emptiness of the script), links that have no value and the assemblage is just not working as a valid work. I've tried to like some historical or artistic points in that movie, but I can't. It felt amateur and childish. It's a movie in the "air du temps" which means it is told in a weird asynchronous way just because if not, it would be even worst (like 2/10), it's filled with empty emotions, boring images and both the historical and reflexive aspects are quite low. Those people tried to make a historical non-historical semi-fiction about indigenous culture linked with a part of his progression, but it's a fail, a total fail. If you want to lean something about indigenous culture (or Quebec Culture as a whole), take a book on the subject or watch another movie. This one, even for entertainment, will make you lose your time.
  • As you can tell by my rating, I loved this movie. It was well shot, well acted and engrossing from beginning to end. It starts off a bit slow and dark after a battle in around 1200. It then goes back and forth between present day and several different time periods at the same crucial location. I wondered if it was based on a true story. or several true stories. The characters are mostly relatable but because there are so many characters, the relations you develop with them may not be that deep.
  • sergelamarche10 November 2018
    The message is old but it is implacable, the human race is separating, rejoining over eons and the genes are spreading all over. The anchor linking all is an archeological serendipitous dig in a stadium in Montréal. Great, realistic, ironic.
  • This is slow and empty (somewhere) like many of the Quebec movies and this is what is plaguing the Quebec movies these recent years.

    Emotions and slowness, the will to be "artsy" I guess

    This is like a 99% rule, they are all monkeying "small repertory" cinema (I guess) and this is plaguing this scene. We don't want to pay for that kind of movies, we prefer when it's more dynamic. It is something they lost on their way, 15 years ago approximately.

    They are obsessed by 'deepness' but it turn out being "numbness". This ingredient represent almost 90% of every movies in Quebec

    Red violin , by the same director/writer was absolutely great, not one single boring moment. This was 20 years ago, my guess is that the foundings was not from the same source, before the source was more open, and now it must have been the Canadian founded government source which equals to Trudeau's multiculturalism that praise a "post nationalist" country, in other words complacent to the globalists).

    Recent movies in Quebec are numb in the core. To me they look like they are on anti-psychosis: they are numbed. Not that one particularly, but this one has this problem too. The pace is too slow, it wants too much to be doo deep.

    In their mind (Canada funded movies) Quebec's identity must be repressed, to instead favoritize globalism. They're all "whispering" their identity (somehow).

    By the way I love the indians, I love the warriors, a lot. I also love the French europeans.