Movies about the Outaouais

Published on March 20 2020

You’re staying home (bravo), you love movies, and you’re a fan of the Outaouais (bravo again)? Combine cinematography and geography with these shorts and features filmed in our region.

FROM THE NFB

Accessible to everyone free of charge, the National Film Board (NFB) website is a treasure trove for inquisitive minds. Hours of enjoyment and discovery.

Log Drive

If you’re interested in the heritage of the Outaouais, you must watch Log Drive, a short documentary in which Quebec singer Félix Leclerc, in his beautiful warm voice, tells and sings about the life of the log drivers. It shows images of days gone by (in black and white, of course—it was released in 1957!), and frankly, it’s amazing to see how much times have changed. A guy surfing down the river on logs? OMG. Without a helmet? OMG. Messing around with dynamite? OMG. Félix Leclerc singing? OMG!

The Legend of the Flying Canoe (La Chasse-galerie)

Did you know that the legend of the flying canoe (the Chasse-galerie) is set in the Gatineau Valley? Yes, it’s true: the loggers who made a pact with the Devil were working in a lumber camp near the Gatineau River. This beautiful 10-minute animated film relates the tale popularized by Honoré Beaugrand in 1891.

River with a Problem

This short documentary made in 1962 explains the dangers of pollution in rivers, especially the Ottawa River. Admittedly, it hasn’t aged well: the music, the illustrations, the narration… But it’s still fascinating to see through the eyes of that era, at the dawn of environmental awareness. Shout-out to Mr. Émile Pilon, who (between puffs on his cigarette) reminisces about the good old days, when the water was drinkable and the fish were abundant.

The Shimmering Beast

Filmed near near Maniwaki in the early 1980s, this cult film by Pierre Perrault holds a special place in my heart. It’s about a group of moose hunters who go out into the wilderness to spend a week together. One of them is Stéphane-Albert Boulais (my film prof at Cegep!), who is on his first hunting expedition, accompanying his friend Bernard. More than a documentary, it’s a story about friendship and social dynamics.

Elsewhere

Mad Dog Labine

Written and filmed entirely in the Pontiac, this film tells the story of two young girls who are bored during hunting season … until they win the lottery. I haven’t seen it, but here’s what La Presse reviewer André Duchesne had to say about it: “The result is highly enjoyable. Mad Dog Labine is a little tectonic jolt in our cinema. This modest feature film, at once moving, offbeat and hilarious, flirts with drama while injecting a few bursts of subtle and caustic humour.”

The films of Philippe Falardeau

Director Philippe Falardeau, a native of Hull, included a few Outaouais landscapes in some of his films, including C’est pas moi je l’jure and Guibord s’en va-t-en guerre.

Have you seen these movies? Have I left any out? Let us know, and happy viewing!

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