Canada Film Days Festival 2013

Winner Best Actor Jutra Awards in Quebec.

Ecumenical Prize. Karlovy Intern'l Film Festival

Montreal filmmaker Rafaël Ouellet has become something of a specialist at finely crafted family dramas, masterfully revealing the emotional depths of his deceptively small-scale stories. Ouellet's new film, Camion (which recently won the Jury Prize and Best Director trophy the Karlovy Vary film festival), is an enthralling account of a scattered family that reconnects after a fatal road accident.

Truck driving is all sixty-year-old widower Germain (Julien Poulin) has ever known. When he is involved in a head-on collision that leaves a woman dead, his quiet life is suddenly thrown into a tailspin. Though he was not at fault, the remorse he experiences is debilitating, leaving him severely depressed and unwilling to get behind the wheel again. Deeply concerned for his father, Germain’s son Samuel (Patrice Dubois) puts his job in Montreal on hold, travels to New Brunswick to collect his estranged older brother Alain (Stéphane Breton), and together they drive to their rural Quebec hometown to care for their stricken father. The brothers, however, have their own issues: reliable Samuel is still lovelorn decades after a teenage breakup, while Alain, an inveterate raconteur and incurable womanizer, drifts aimlessly from town to town, incapable of settling down. As the men struggle to reconnect, it becomes apparent that all three are stuck in the past for different reasons, unable to move forward. Slowly, the brothers revive Germain’s will to live, and in the process discover fresh directions for their own lives.

Quebec cinema has often explored the theme of the restorative power of returning to the land and the familial home. But in a departure from his feature debut Le Cèdre penché, about two sisters who return to their mother’s rural town after her death, here, Ouellet subtly transforms the paradigm, presenting a homestead that needs healing. With a novelist’s touch, Ouellet draws us into the earthy, rugged world of this blue-collar family that serves as the backdrop for his redemptive drama, and brilliantly uses the image of blood — first in the car accident, then with Samuel’s ill-timed nosebleed and a cathartic hunting expedition — as a catalyst for long-repressed emotions to flood forth.

As poignant, understated and affecting as its sorrowful folk-rock score, Camion places Ouellet firmly at the forefront of Quebec’s most highly accomplished young filmmakers. - Agata Smoluch Del Sorbo


Dept. of French Studies, University of Waterloo

AFKW - Kitchener-Waterloo French Association


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