The Three “Martins” : Martin Petit (#194)
This is the last of the posts in the “Martins” series.
Martin Petit’s career path is not unlike those of the “Martins” in the two previous posts; Maxim Martin and Martin Matte.
Petit’s first big breaks into the public arena were through improve in the 1980s, and as a member of a comedy troupe and at the Juste pour rire (Just for Laughs) festival in the 1990s. His participation at some of the best known comedy festivals was much more high profile than most comedians – eventually allowing him to take the reins as master of ceremonies.
In the early 2000s, he made the leap to high-profile radio. The mid-2000s saw him host his own morning radio shows. Later he was given the opportunity to host one of the most popular radio shows in Montréal, “Le monde est Petit” (“The World is Small”, a play on his surname) on NRJ.
Petit’s radio-presence made him a household name, and added to the furor and high-ticket sales for his one-man comedy shows. He became a “must-have” figure for various events, and he became a host for Radio-Canada’s annual gala, with 1.5 million viewers.
He embarked in acting with his role in the very successful film Les Boys 2. His acting career continued as a cast member of the very popular TV show, Un gars, une fille.
He was a co-writer of Montréwood’s most successful movie in 2011 (in terms of box office sales), Starbuck.
He currently has his own sitcom television show, Les pêcheurs; one of the better-known weekly TV shows in Québec.
Martin Petit’s official website is http://www.martinpetit.com/ (with ticket information for his upcoming shows).
The website for the TV show, Les pêcheurs is http://lespecheurs.radio-canada.ca/emission-infos/
The Three “Martins” : Martin Matte (#193)
The last post looked at Maxim Martin. This post will look at Martin Matte.
Martin Matte’s own career is not unlike that of the other two celebrities in this “Three Martins” blog-post series.
However, of all the three Martins, Martin Mattes’ career has perhaps seen the biggest success. He has been one of the most high-profile, highly sought after celebrities of the last couple of years in Montréwood. For the sake of comparisons, in terms of his celebrity status (if I were to compare him to other celebrities in the same age bracket), his star power perhaps is to Montréwood what Matt Damon’s would be to Hollywood (although their career paths and focus are very different).
Martin Matte’s background was stand-up comedy, from which he launched his career in the 1990s — and which he still occasionally does (he was one of Québec’s most successful comedians of the 2000’s). But since then, he has gone on to become a very successfully sitcom actor and charity activist.
His longest sitcom career was on Caméra Café for 4 years (until 2006).
He now is the main actor in the very successful sitcom, Les Beaux Malaises on TVA.
Considering how famous he is, I find it surprising he has not done much acting in movies. He has done one movie, however – Nitro, in 2007
Click HERE for a funny scene between Martin Matte & Guylaine Tremblay (the subject of an earlier post) on TVA’s website.
A short, comical scene from the sitcom Les Beaux Malaises on TVA’s YouTube channel can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfXLtUJpoPg
One of the main reason he has become quite popular is because of his regular television appearances. It is difficult to not see him, almost on a daily basis, somewhere on Montréwood television. He is regularly on the most popular talk shows (for example, I think he has probably been on Tout le monde en parle more than most semi-regular guests). He’s often seen in television advertisements and he’s usually front and centre in television gala events, as well as a regular on morning and daily variety shows.
Regardless of where you are in anglophone Canada, If you’re just starting to watch Francophone television, Martin Matte is a must-know in order to help sort out the “who’s who” in your mind.
The official website of his charity foundation is here: http://www.fondationmartinmatte.com/.
The Three “Martins” : Maxim Martin (#192)
Here’s the first celebrity in the 3-part “Martin” series: Maxim Martin.
I’ll keep this one short since I’m doing the Montréal-Toronto trip today on the highway (I’m actually quickly writing this post from an OnRoute roadstop on the 401).
Originally Franco-Manitobain from Manitoba, Maxim Martin made his entry into Québec’s pop-culture with a big leap from doing comedy gigs in Winnipeg to doing comedy at the Juste pour Rire festival in the 1990s. Québec has since been his home.
Considering how well known Maxim Martin is, he’s not controversial or extreme in any sense. But there are some notable things about him.
His love-life has occasionally been the subject of tabloids and talk shows, and he doesn’t shy away from it in his own media appearances or comedy acts. For many years, he has been a single father.
He regularly talks about his adolescent daughter, Livia, in his comedy acts and on other media platforms – and he she has appeared in television herself. Apparently she has a twitter feed which has garnered a lot of attention.
Although he’s a comedian at heart, Martin has been a radio host on one of Montréal’s most popular radio stations, he has been the co-host of a morning television bric-a-brac show, he has hosted regular sports slots on TVA Sports (he’s a big sports fan, and he has reported quite a bit on junior hockey leagues), and he’s also an actor.
Two recent films in which Martin has starred are the thriller films Manigances (2012 & 2013).
One thing worth mentioning is that he is one of the “greener” pop-culture stars on environmental issues. His website even features elements on his thoughts on the idea, and the David Suzuki Foundation once did an online feature of Martin. Maxim Martin at one point hosted an environmental program on the Canal Vox television station.
After a 2-year stage comedy absence, he came roaring back this week with sold-out shows at Théatre St-Denis in Montréal. Just to give you an idea how popular he is, I tried for two days to get tickets in Montréal, without success, owing to how much demande there was for tickets (I guess it really was the show to see!). Oh well… next trip. Back to Toronto now.
His official website (with his blog, performance info & other) is www.maximmartin.com
The Three “Martins” : Introduction (#191)
Here’s a little Quiz for you (answers will be at the bottom) …
- Did you know that “Martin” is the most common surname (family name) in France?
- But in Québec, “Martin” is not the most common surname. What is it?
- Montréwood’s, Québec’s and Canada’s Francophone pop-culture scene has three well-known “Martins”. Most Francophones know them. Who might they be?
- The first one is Franco-Manitoban (from Winnipeg). His surname is “Martin”.
- The second one is from Québec. His given name is “Martin”
- The above two guys look very similar (their physiques are so similar that some people actually mix them up).
- The third one is also from Québec. His given name is also “Martin”, but he looks nothing like the first two.
- All three are stand-up comedians, but they also have their own television programs — either as actors or as hosts.
- All three are in high demand for television and event appearances; so much so that we have seen them as regulars on the talk show circuit, in gala events, and as invited interview guests for years. Bluntly put, all three are staples of the Montréwood and Francophone pop-culture scene.
- Additional hints:
- The first one has an adolescent daughter, Livia, who is regularly referred to in the media when they talk about her dad.
- The second one likes to talk (I mean really likes to talk)
- And you would think that the third one likes to fish.
- All are around the same age
Here are the answers:
- Most common Québec surname: “Tremblay”
- The three famous “Martins” :
- Maxim Martin
- Martin Matte
- Martin Petit
See if you agree with everyone else that Maxim Martin and Martin Matte look alike. Here are google images of them:
We’ll learn more about these Martins in the next three posts.
In the meantime, I’m off to see if I can still get tickets for Maxim Martin’s big comedy show here in Montréal tonight (I drive back to Toronto tomorrow… so tonight’s my last chance to take in his show). Talk to you again soon!!
Denys Arcand: His place in Québec’s history — Post 2 of 2 (#190)
This is the second post in a two-post series on Denys Arcard (you’ll need to refer to the first post for the context of what follows. Click here for the first post: Denys Arcand: A quick Québec film industry backgrounder — Post 1 of 2
Arcand is quite significant on four fronts:
- He is the most important, “still-surviving” influential “second-era” filmmaker to have made the transition into a third-era filmmaker,
- Like other former second-era filmmakers, he has for the most part abandoned the ideals of the second-era when making third-era films (of which his third-era films have been his most successful),
- Both his second and third-era films are extremely well-known, influential, and have marked Québec’s and Montréwood’s film industry forever.
- [Note: when I refer to the expression Montréwood, it denotes a much more “Montréal” specific phenomena related to Québec’s pop-culture, rather than a province-wide activity]
- He is probably Québec’s greatest filmmaker of all time.
Québec’s film industry really didn’t take off until the beginning of the second era, and Arcand was born at the right moment to be of the right age when he became fully engaged as a filmmaker (from a nationalist and age-bracket point-of-view). His first films came out in the early 1960s, and he created, or participated in the creation of 10 major films from the 1960’s until the first referendum in 1980.
Of these second-era ultra-nationalistic films, a few have marked Arcand’s place in history (they were films kept the ball of nationalist momentum rolling, or at least they gave the ball a few good, hard spins). “On est au coton” from 1970 is one of the best known.
“On est au coton” was actually censored by the National Film Board based because it did not meet Board policy standards (The NFB had the authority to censor it because it was a private matter owing to the fact that they produced it – not because of government censorship [we’re not that kind of country, after all]). I think uncensored versions of it only began to be sold on the open market during the last 10 or 15 years. The film’s theme was about francophone labourers of the 1950’s, working under appalling conditions in Québec’s Anglophone-managed textile industry (I’m sure you can infer the spin Arcand took with this film). The film also included two members of the FLQ (a Québec terrorist organization from the late 60’s / early 70’s) calling for armed revolution. On one hand, it was held up as a lightning rod for those calling for sovereignty. On the other hand, others decried that it twisted reality by sensationalizing issues which were not reflective of the reality for the majority. Regardless, it was a long time ago (45 years ago), and I believe it’s good for everyone to be fully aware of film and the context of the time. But it was a matter for another generation and now for the history books – I think most people recognize that. The film has been made available for free online viewing on National Film Board’s website at the following address: https://www.onf.ca/film/on_est_au_coton/.
It’s interesting to note that On est au coton gave rise to an expression commonly used in modern Québec French: “Être au coton” means “to be at one’s wits end”
Other well-known Arcand films, from Québec second film era, were Québec: Duplessis et après (regarding the politics of the Quiet Revolution), and Le Confort de l’indifférence, which mourned the loss of the “nationalist dream” following the 1980 referendum. For many, this latter film signalled the end of Québec’s second–era of films.
From the 1980s onwards, Denys Arcand, like most other major filmmakers, abandoned the themes of second-era films and concentrated on populist, modern and all-inclusive films with global appeal.
After the 1980 referendum and after his film Le Confort de l’indifférence, I think Arcand felt there was no more point in creating films which created ideological divisions in society, or which had nationalist aspirations — and he laid that aspect of his filmmaking to rest. Even if one wanted to make a point, one could still do it in an inclusive manner — just as any family dispute can be discussed without making individual family members feel isolated or rejected. In passing, this is also why I do not ascribe to the notion that nationalistic debates are “tribalistic” in nature (at least in our context in Canada), because tribalism denotes a “them and us” connotation – whereas I’m of the mindset that we’re all in this together, that it’s a family affair, and that it is to be discussed in this latter context.
In an interesting comparison, just as Denys Arcand chose to make Le Confort de l’indifférence to signify the end of second-era films, Pierre Falardeau chose to make Elvis Gratton to signify the end of second-era films, and to then move on with life (see the post on Elvis Gratton).
It was the mid 1980s transition towards third-era films which really saw Arcand’s artistic genius and abilities take flight. I think it is owing to the fact that he liberated himself (and his movies) from second-era constraints that he was able to finally produce works which found universal appeal. His subsequent success was phenomenal.
I’ll briefly mention some of his most successful third-era films. But I’ll provide you with Wikipedia links if you want more information.
Le Déclin de l’empire américain (1986) was an Oscar nominee. Its sequel, Les Invasions barbares (2003) won an Oscar.
Jésus de Montréal (1989) won the Jury award at Cannes and an Oscar.
Subsequent successful films included Idole Instantanée (2005), L’Âge des ténèbres (2007), and Le Règne de la beauté (2014).
Other notable information: Denys Arcand also has made many short films. He has been decorated with Canada’s, Québec’s and even France’s highest awards. He is highly sought after for interviews, and been the invitee on many of Montréwood’s most high profile talk shows. His works and life are also the subject of intense study at university and in academic circles. In essence, he incarnates Québec cinema on many levels, and has set the bar for generations to come.
If you’re learning French, I’d recommend taking in some of the above-mentioned films. Not only will they provide you with an interesting way to practice your French, but they will provide you invaluable cultural context.
Related post: Montréwood Movies