Robert Morin, Lorraine Dufour
Éléphant : mémoire du cinéma québécois
This screening is at the Museum Cinema and there is no ticket reservation.
“Hi, I’m Earl Tremblay and I’m here to talk about myself with the help of this film you’re about to see. I started filming last year. I’d never touched a camera before. Making a film is like traveling down your own intestine, and you get into deep shit, up to your neck, until you lose it completely. And once you’re in it, you can’t back up. Making this film was like eating myself and shitting myself out right down into the sewer. One thing’s clear, doing this in French and English, it’s gonna make a friggin’ good Canadian movie.”
So begins the 19th reel of the film of Earl Tremblay's life. Born to a French-speaking father, Henri Tremblay, and an anglophone mother, Edma Burke, he tells his story through the double language of his upbringing. After the accidental death of his mother from clam poisoning and his father's suicide, Earl leaves his native beach, taking with him his mother's camera and 19 reels of film she left him to help him find himself. Nineteen reels, each three minutes long, which he presents to us in voice-over in both English and French. But as the film progresses, the speech begins to diverge from one language to the other, until it no longer comments on events in the same way. Earl is at the heart of an identity war. His initiatory journey will take him from his home to Montreal and then to Ottawa, where he will become an MP for the Conservatives.
YES SIR! MADAME... is an essential film for anyone interested in the work of Robert Morin. It is one of the filmmaker's flagship works. A satirical comedy that is both intimate and abrasive, it projects us into a universe somewhere between fiction, autobiographical documentary, fake found footage, experimental cinema and even the principles of Vertov's Kino-Eye. Several of the major themes that would punctuate the author's body of work are already present here, while using the ultra-subjective camera that he is so fond of. A founding member of the Coop Vidéo de Montréal in 1977, he has directed some 30 films to date. Even though it seems to have been shot with the urgency of a no-budget film, YES SIR! MADAME... remains an ambitious project that Morin worked on for almost 20 years. The premiere of this 4K restoration by Éléphant : mémoire du cinéma québécois will be screened and host in the presence of Robert Morin. – Marc Lamothe
A lower than low-budget film, YES SIR! MADAME... was largely shot on 16mm film, but originally post-produced and distributed on 3/4-inch reel. The film has only ever been seen on video or digital release prints that have suffered several generations of loss from the original material, through video and digital transfers. The restoration of the film by Éléphant will have made it possible to return to the original film for 2/3 of the film and, for the other 1/3, to attenuate the degradations inherent in the various transfers of the analog video sources, and to improve the colorimetry of these sources. YES SIR! MADAME... was one of the most complex and ambitious restoration projects carried out in recent years by Éléphant: mémoire du cinéma. – Dominique Dugas, Executive Director, Éléphant : mémoire du cinéma québécois.
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