Cinema of Pain: On Quebec's Nostalgic Screen

Cinema of Pain: On Quebec's Nostalgic Screen


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Since the defeat of the pro-sovereigntists in the 1995 Quebec referendum, the loss of a cohesive nationalistic vision in the province has led many Québécois to use their ancestral origins to inject meaning into their everyday lives. A Cinema of Pain argues that this phenomenon is observable in a pervasive sense of nostalgia in Quebec culture and is especially present in the province’s vibrant but deeply wistful cinema.

In Québécois cinema, nostalgia not only denotes a sentimental longing for the bucolic pleasures of bygone French-Canadian traditions, but, as this edited collection suggests, it evokes the etymological sense of the term, which underscores the element of pain (algos) associated with the longing for a return home (nostos).

Whether it is in grandiloquent historical melodramas such as Séraphin: un homme et son péché (Binamé 2002), intimate realist dramas like Tout ce que tu possèdes (Émond 2012), charming art films like C.R.A.Z.Y. (Vallée 2005), or even gory horror movies like Sur le Seuil (Tessier 2003), the contemporary Québécois screen projects an image of shared suffering that unites the nation through a melancholy search for home.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781771124331
Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Publication date: 07/29/2020
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Liz Czach is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. From 1995-2005 she was a programmer of Canadian film at the Toronto International Film Festival. She has contributed essays on Quebec cinema to Transnational Stardom (2013) and Celebrity Cultures in Canada (WLU Press, 2016), among others.

André Loiselle is Dean of Humanities and teaches film studies at St. Thomas University. His main areas of research are Canadian cinema, theatricality in film and the horror film. He has published over 40 articles and chapters in anthologies, as well as a dozen books, including The Canadian Horror Film (2015, with Gina Freitag).

Table of Contents


Introduction / Liz Czach and André Loiselle

SECTION I—Indigenous Longings

1 Landscape, Trauma, and Identity: Simon Lavoie’s Le Torrent / Kester Dyer

SECTION II—Yearning for a Pre-Modern Quebec

2 The Quebec Heritage Film / Liz Czach

3 “La Nostalgie de la maison inconnue”: The Ethics of Memory in Bernard Émond’s Recent Work / Alessandra Pires

4 Fingerless (Anti)Christ: A Reminiscence of the Church in 1966 in Denys Arcand’s Les Invasions Barbares and Éric Tessier’s Sur le Seuil / André Loiselle

SECTION III—Gendered Suffering

5 The Dys-comforts of Home in Quebec Gothic Horror Cinema / Gina Freitag

6 Men in Pain: Home, Nostalgia, and Masculinity in Twenty-First-Century Quebec Film / Amy J. Ransom

SECTION IV—Métropole and Région

7 The Rural (Re)Turns of Young Protagonists in Contemporary Quebec Films / Miléna Santoro

8 Return to Abitibi in Bernard Émond’s La donation / Katherine Ann Roberts

9 Quebec–Montreal: Time, Space, and Memory in Robert Lepage’s Le Confessionnal and Bernard Émond’s La Neuvaine / Jim Leach

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