After seeing Black Mass we headed off to see this new Canadian satire. It was a relief. Light and funny and definitely to the point in its skewering of politics not only in Canada but in any democratic society. The issue the director wanted to address was the fact that politicians are not really free to vote their feelings or conscience on any issue. In parliamentary democracies particularly they vote the party line. The film speculates on the possibility of a politician actually having to make a free decision. The hero of the film is an independent member of parliament from a Quebec rural riding. He finds himself in the situation of being the deciding vote on whether or not Canada should send troops to a foreign war. He is aided in his situation by a young intern from Haiti who is there to learn about the political process. The result is a hilarious look at the political system we all suffer under. Although the story is entirely fictional (wink wink) there is a not too subtle portrayal of our Conservative PM, Quebec politics and the situation on which the film based really happened when Harper asked parliament to approve his latest military adventure. The twist is that the deciding vote rests with a poor independent MP who just wants to do what is best for his constituents.
Falardeau is a very good director responsible for one of my favourite movies of all time Monsieur Lazhar and several other critically acclaimed films. He was there along with the lead actor Patrick Huard. They were charming, funny, and totally engaged the audience. Among the things we learned in the Q and A was that the young Haitian actor Irduns Exantus who played the intern is not a professional actor and this role was his first ever in any kind of acting capacity. He was wonderful. Much of the cast extras – first nations people, truckers, average citizens etc were all locals from the region where the fictional riding existed. It made for a really natural and real portrayal of the situations in which politicians find themselves. Without going into specific scenes I cannot express the simple joy of watching this film unfold. Really enjoyable and out shortly so no excuses, support Canadian cinema, this great director and enjoy yourselves.