Since completing my studies in Cinema at the University of Montreal, I’ve indulged in a binge of exploration of all that is artistic creation, flowing quite freely with the currents: locations I visit, people I meet, new experiences that prove excitingly full of surprises. I marvel at life in its details. Documentary cinema, script writing, singing and/or musical composition: they’re all languages I can’t abide living without, languages that not only allow me to share cherished stories but even to remember them better.
2014. DE MÉMOIRE or the narrative of my crossing paths with Mr Francoeur
2014 is the year when for the very first time, hailing him from an alley of the Petite-Patrie in Montreal, I climbed into Mr Francoeur’s cab. Although it was winter, I don’t recall if the snow was falling or not, but I for sure wasn’t in the best of moods and so contemplating a rather silent & private ride… except, of course, for sweet Mr Francoeur’s interpersonal skills and communicative joie de vivre: I had no choice but to embark on a conversation I guess could have easily gone on till the end of times.
Smooth jazz was playing on the radio. I felt I was in a movie. Totally captivated by Mr Francoeur’s tone of voice & menu of words, by the reflection of his eyes in the rearview mirror. Once at destination, after thanking him, I dared ask for his personal phone number, with respect to a documentary film project already brewing up in my mind: the poetic portrait of a man, drawn from the vagaries of his past and the perception of his own present.
Later on in August, we started shooting DE MÉMOIRE together, assisted by two friends of mine, cinematographer Kristoffer Laurin-Racicot & sound engineer Benjamin Gutilla, whose providential help I couln’t have done either without nor in time.
For at the very end of November, I received a letter from a ladyfriend of Mr Francoeur informing me about his death.
«I know for a fact he would have loved to be in more movies. In a way, you two met each other at the right place & time.» She concluded by mentioning he had recently procured for himself a business card reading: «Richer M. Francoeur, actor.»
Interestingly enough, when still a young man, Mr Francoeur had worked on professional movie sets, as chief electrician, and most notably in 1978 with André Forcier, as the well known director was shooting his feature-length AU CLAIR DE LA LUNE, in which Mr Francoeur also appears as an extra. Here he is (on the left) alongside actor Michel Côté.
From the moment Mr Francoeur started reminiscing starry-eyed about that experience, I felt a desperate urge to view the film. Just before his untimely passing, I had actually suggested a meeting at his favorite joint on Mont-Royal Avenue, so he could lend me the VHS copy of AU CLAIR DE LA LUNE he still owned. But it would have to wait: Mr Francoeur was lying in bed, sick with what he called «a man’s flu.» In the meantime, cordially, I wished him a speedy recovery —which also didn’t happen: two days later, he was gone.
Since its very beginning, this project seems to have been engulfed in madness. Evolving, moving from one transformation to yet another. I believe it to be a wonderful madness. A madness essential. Even if I’d give everything to bring Mr Francoeur back, and see him happily live the long life he was looking forward to.
2015. A beautiful coincidence or the narrative of my crossing paths with André Forcier
When finally I played the VHS in my living room, the story, its images, the whole thing seemingly somehow so familiar just knocked me down.
So I got my hands on André Forcier’s address and at once wrote him to try & obtain an official authorisation to use excerpts of AU CLAIR DE LA LUNE in my project. He left his personal phone number on my answering machine the next day and just a few hours later, I was nervously conversing with him: to my surprise & delight, not only did he respond favourably to my call, but after viewing DE MÉMOIRE’s trailer, he enthusiastically advised me to target the Film Festivals niche —a welcome pat on the back to say the least.
A few weeks later, I was meditating on the future of my film, but I was elsewhere. Literally elsewhere.
2015 - 2016. Coming home or remembering the pat on the back
Here’s the whole team line-up, including marvelous comrades in arms whose later boost proved vital to the completion of the project:
Charlotte Brousseau - direction
Kristoffer Laurin-Racicot - framing & camera, colour & technical support
Benjamin Gutilla - sound recording (interviews)
Marie-Philippe Mercier Lambert - post-production supervision
Esther Plumb Malo - image editing
Pierre-Hugues Rondeau - sound recording (voice-over narration), sound editing and design
Tommy Demers - sound design (music score)
Jacques Allard - translation
The clock is ticking, and we’re now only missing you!
With post-production of DE MÉMOIRE drawing to an end and numerous Festivals having published their close off dates, we’re obviously aiming to provide our film with the best possible momentum by submitting it to numerous festivals, in Quebec & Canada as well as abroad, playing hosts to short-length documentaries. My whole team and I now therefore find ourselves humbly asking for your help & participation.