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Patrick Huard (#212)

Two nights ago, Xavier Dolan’s film Mommy cleaned house, yet again.  This time it was an arm-full of trophes at Montréwood’s Jutra awards.

The 2nd most important back-up actor in the film was Patrick Huard.

Regarding Montréwood cinéma, we often say if you want to know what film is worth watching (ie: what constitutes a “good” film), then follow the “director”.  Conversely, in Hollywood, more often than not it tends to be the reverse; people in Hollywood say you should follow the “actor” to find the “good” movies.

One major exception to the Québéc/Montréwood rule of following the “director” is in the case of the superstar actor, Patrick Huard.   In Huard’s case, if you follow the actor (just as you would in Hollywood), you are bound to find the best films.

With a few exceptions, if you look at the biggest of the big Montréwood films from the mid 1990s to present, Patrick Huard has held either a leading acting role, or a major back-up role.

I’ve never personally seen Huard walk down the streets in Québec, but I can only imagine he would be pounced upon from all directions by adoring fans looking for autographs.

Some of the more notable, very successful Montréwood films he has appeared in were:

  • Les Boys (1, 2 & 3) – all of which were among the highest grossing, and most viewed films in Canadian history
  • Bon Cop, Bad Cop – (Patrick Huard was the main actor)… the highest or second highest grossing film in Canadian history when it came out in 2006
  • Starbuck
  • Mommy
  • Omerta

The above films have gone down in the Montréwood, Québec and Canadian history books.  I think it’s fair to say that so has Patrick Huard.

If you want to hear a half-hour conversation between Patrick Huard and his co-star in Mommy, Anne Dorval, you can hear it on Radio-Canada’s radio program, L’autre jour à la table d’à côté” (“The Other Day at the Table Beside Us…”).  Click HERE for the program on Radio-Canada’s official website.

Check out some of his work… I think you’ll be impressed.

Bon Cop, Bad Cop – ENGLISH TRAILER (the film was 50/50 French-English)

Starbuck – SUBTITLED English Trailer

Omertà – (Also starring Céline Dion’s husband, René Angélil)

Mommy Trailer:

Guylaine Tremblay – An “eavesdropping” short series: Moffatt-Tremblay – Post 2 of 3 (#151)

Few television actresses are as recognizable as Guylaine Tremblay.  She has played central rolls in some of Montréwood’s most successful TV drama and comedy series, which have included La Petite vie, Omerta, Unité 9, and Les Rescapés.

I recently listened to an on-air radio interview in which Marina Orsini interviewed Guylaine Tremblay.  In the interview, I think Orsini hit the nail on the head when she told Tremblay she believes Tremblay’s public appeal lies in her being someone the public can identify with – the person who could be anyone’s sister, mother, or daughter – and that it is not only reflected through her acting rolls, but how she leads her life in general.

Tremblay is the mother of adopted daughters (the theme of not carrying one’s own children is a theme which Tremblay and Ariane Moffatt discuss in detail – which I present in the next post), and lives with her husband.

I will say, one thing which caught my eye (actually quite surprisingly) was when Tremblay politicised herself (at least in the sense of giving herself a public political label in the mind of people who have followed her career).  I say this because, over the course of her 30 year career, she’s someone I, and others, grew up watching in Western Canada (she is very well respected by Francophones, Francophiles, and French speaking Anglophones all across Canada) – and she was someone I always considered to be part of my own cultural sphere. She unexpectedly appeared (at least for me it was unexpected) on stage at the Parti Québécois’Rassemblement national” prior to last-year’s election.   That doesn’t bother me in-and-of-itself (I think political engagement is important and a necessary part of our democracy – and a society must have to have opposing political views to make keep the democratic process healthy and make it work).  But it has always felt like a case of “innocence lost” when actors and actresses take on a high-profile political stance (regardless of the political party or ideology) — and when they do, it always seems to feel like they jumped off the pedestal on which you purposely wanted to place them.   When I saw Tremblay get on stage that night, I can distinctly remember thinking to myself “Oh man! Guylaine, of all the things you could have done, why did you have to go and choose to do ‘this thing’?”.   It’s a bit disconcerting, because as the public, we tend to think that our actors and actresses belong to all of us, regardless of political stripes.  In that sense, they are so often a point of commonality and unity in a world often filled with petty divisions and differences.  That’s one of the beautiful things of the acting profession which should be cherished.  But then some go and take that feeling away by placing themselves in a political camp – basically saying, there’s “us” and then there’s “you”.  It’s just not a nice feeling.

But I suppose at the end of the day, there is still a human behind every acting role, and everyone has the right to express their political beliefs – and we should respect everyone’s right to make such choices.  It’s maybe not a pleasant reality, but we live in a very real world, not in utiopia.

Regardless, she’s still an amazingly talented actor, one of the best Québec & Canada has – and all the drama series in which she appears would not have nearly the same degree of a human element without her (she is a very human person – and anytime I see her true personality in interviews, I really get the impression she could so easily have been any of the bubbly, kind, caring, and empathetic people I grew up with in Alberta, or anywhere, really – be it friends or family… that’s why I really like her).

In the next post, we’ll take a brief look at a summary of the conversation Guylaine Tremblay and Ariane Moffatt had when they met and shared a one-on-one meal on L’Autre côté à la table d’à côté.

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MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES

Marina Orsini (#117)

The snow finally let up, and you know the sun is out when the sidewalks of Montréal are invaded by… well… holiday elves and raindeer (you know, just the usual same old, same old…) 🙂   (and no… the pic is not of Marina Orsini, unless you think I look like her… which I don’t!  lol 🙂 )

rndr.st-laur

This post is about one of those actresses who has filled some of the best known roles in Montréwood television drama series.

Marina Orsini is currently a radio host of one of Montréal’s more popular easy-listening radio stations, Rouge FM.  But she’s better known for her roles in some of the hottest, and highest rated TV drama series of the past 20 years.

One such series was Lance et compte, about a fictitious hockey team and the lives of those associated with the team.  The series was aired over the course of two eras… an initial block of seasons on TQS (now Télé-Québec) in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and then as a come-back series on the TVA network from 2006 to 2012.   Its TV viewership rarely dipped below 1,000,000 viewers, and on occasion it would surpass 3,000,000 viewers.

Marina Orsini was also one of the main stars in the TV drama Les filles de caleb which aired on Radio-Canada in the early 1990s (as well as in France).   It was about a fictional family’s rural hardships in early 20th century Québec.   This program is said to have attracted one of the highest television viewer audiences of all time in Québec, surpassing 3,600,000 viewers (with only La Petite Vie, and Star Académie having garnered more viewers).  In France, an average of more than 4,000,000 people followed the series.

I personally was a big fan of her other series;  the Radio-Canada drama series Urgence which ran from 1995 to 1997.  These were my first couple of years in university and there was a small group of us who would occasionally get together in our university dorm to watch the weekly episodes back in Edmonton.   It was set in a Montréal hospital, and featured the dramatic lives of hospital staff.

Orsini also starred in many other television series of varying degrees of success.

In the “Qui êtes-vous?” family history program, she traced her family roots to Italy, the US, Ontario and Scotland.  This was one of the episodes of the program which, again, debunked the false belief that Québécois and  France geneology are synonymous with each other.  You can’t get much more Québécois than Marina Orsini, despite her having no French roots.   The episode of the program featuring Orsini was particularly touching – her mother was suffering from cancer, and just before her mother passed away, both Orsini and her mother made the on-camera trip to Italy to find their roots – one of the last major mother-daughter moments they spent together.

When Orsini was speaking to Scottish genealogists in the episode, I was surprised to notice that she didn’t have a French accent when she spoke English (she spoke with a Standard English Canadian accent).   Only later did I find out that she attended high school in English in Montréal – I found that quite interesting.  I’m always impressed when I see people who can effortlessly transcend the linguistic divide in this manner.