The Devil’s Share

The 1970s as a decade has captured the imagination of many out there. It just seems like a time of much change within politics, social issues, music, and economics. The decade saw terrorist acts like that of the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, an oil crisis in 1973, the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia, the Vietnam War, varied gender roles for women, birth of modern computing, and the sexual revolution. In Quebec it is seen as a time in which everything changed including our collective identity.

Quebec director Luc Bourdon continues his investigation of Quebec society with his latest film. Previously, with The Memories of Angels he looked at the 50s and 60s in the city of Montreal. Now he is back with a look at the 70s of the entire province. With both films he has constructed them in a kind of collage way. Using 200 films from the National Film Board of Canada from the era he has made a cogent perspective of the mindset of the people living in the proving at the time.

It was a time in this province of the Quiet Revolution. A key period in the province’s history. Aided by editor Michel Giroux, Bourdon has pieced together a timeline of the people from the cities and rural areas of the province. Not even using any voice-over or narration, he just allows the films to speak for themselves.

The films used were directed by the likes of Denis Arcand, Pierre Perrault and Anne-Claire Poirier. Within the clips you will recognize such prominent figures from all aspects of life like Robert Charlebois, Rene Levesque, Jean Chretien, Michel Tremblay, and Pierre Trudeau.

With the changes between tone and even from black and white to colour film lends to the whole poetic nature of what is happening before your eyes. It draws you in and forces you to think about what happened during this time of transformation in the province.

At the very end of the previous decade in the year 1969 Quebec was a province on the edge. The FLQ, a group advocating the separation of Quebec from the rest of Canada, bombed the Montreal Stock Exchange and a wildcat strike by the city of Montreal’s firefighters and police led to violence. Many cracks were appearing the province. Over the course of the next ten years major events or enacting of laws happened like Bill 101 (law governing choice of language of education), the FLQ abducting James Cross and Pierre Laporte, martial law was declared in 1970, the RCMP stole the membership list of the Parti Quebecois, many anglophones begin leaving the province, and the PQ defeats the Liberals in the 1976 provincial elections.

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