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Cinema of Pain

On Quebec's Nostalgic Screen

Edited by André Loiselle & Liz Czach
Subjects Film & Media, Cultural Studies
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Paperback : 9781771124331, 259 pages, July 2020
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781771124355, 240 pages, July 2020
Ebook (PDF) : 9781771124348, 240 pages, July 2020

Table of contents

Introduction / Liz Czach and André Loiselle
SECTION I—Indigenous Longings
1 Landscape, Trauma, and Identity: Simon Lavoie’s Le Torrent / Kester Dyer
SECTION II—Yearning for a Pre-Modern Quebec
2 The Quebec Heritage Film / Liz Czach
3 “La Nostalgie de la maison inconnue”: The Ethics of Memory in Bernard Émond’s Recent Work / Alessandra Pires
4 Fingerless (Anti)Christ: A Reminiscence of the Church in 1966 in Denys Arcand’s Les Invasions Barbares and Éric Tessier’s Sur le Seuil / André Loiselle
SECTION III—Gendered Suffering
5 The Dys-comforts of Home in Quebec Gothic Horror Cinema / Gina Freitag
6 Men in Pain: Home, Nostalgia, and Masculinity in Twenty-First-Century Quebec Film / Amy J. Ransom
SECTION IV—Métropole and Région
7 The Rural (Re)Turns of Young Protagonists in Contemporary Quebec Films / Miléna Santoro
8 Return to Abitibi in Bernard Émond’s La donation / Katherine Ann Roberts
9 Quebec–Montreal: Time, Space, and Memory in Robert Lepage’s Le Confessionnal and Bernard Émond’s La Neuvaine / Jim Leach
Works Cited
About the Contributors


Since the defeat of the pro-sovereigntists in the 1995 Quebec referendum, the loss of a cohesive nationalistic vision in the province has led many Québécois to use their ancestral origins to inject meaning into their everyday lives. A Cinema of Pain argues that this phenomenon is observable in a pervasive sense of nostalgia in Quebec culture and is especially present in the province’s vibrant but deeply wistful cinema.
In Québécois cinema, nostalgia not only denotes a sentimental longing for the bucolic pleasures of bygone French-Canadian traditions, but, as this edited collection suggests, it evokes the etymological sense of the term, which underscores the element of pain (algos) associated with the longing for a return home (nostos).
Whether it is in grandiloquent historical melodramas such as Séraphin: un homme et son péché (Binamé 2002), intimate realist dramas like Tout ce que tu possèdes (Émond 2012), charming art films like C.R.A.Z.Y. (Vallée 2005), or even gory horror movies like Sur le Seuil (Tessier 2003), the contemporary Québécois screen projects an image of shared suffering that unites the nation through a melancholy search for home.