In the port of Matane, there is a ferry, a shrimp factory, a shipyard, dredges, barges and a train that moves forward and backward all the time. Between the modern machines and the very old gestures, there are fishermen, passers-by, travellers. There is this film. Almost without words, almost without music. In balance between the devastating daily life and the sometimes wonderful effects of the salt water.
In this third installment of her “Saint Lawrence trilogy”, Matane filmmaker and patron poetess of Quebec’s most famous river, Johanne Fournier blends observational documentary filmmaking with experimental forms to contemplate life in her hometown. The auteur “takes her time” there to capture the city’s singular pace. Without dialogue, music or commentary, she examines the tranquil comings and goings of human activity through a series of majestic and meticulously composed scenescapes: the ferry crossings, the conveyor belt in the shrimp processing plant, merchandise being transported, work on the naval base… While daily life seems to follow the rhythms of the natural world, even the harsh Gaspé winter that imprisons Matane in ice does little to halt the airy gliding of enormous boats on the river. With its magnificent cinematography punctuated by the rhythm of machinery, this enchanting ode to the port’s habitants will leave you smelling a whiff of salt air and feeling the irresistible urge to visit.
Programmer and critic
Born in Matane, Johanne Fournier studied at the National Theatre School of Canada, and worked as an actress for a few years before moving behind the camera. In 1980, with Vidéo Femmes, in Québec, she participated in the creation of thirty documentaries, essays and fiction films, as a screenwriter, director and editor. Back in Matane in 1997, she made several films, including Larguer les amarres (1999), Cabines (2007) and Le temps que prennent les bateaux (2011). As an independent filmmaker, she combines a documentary approach with narrative research. Her films have been presented in film festivals and on television and have been shown France, Italy and Japan. She received the prize for artistic creation from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec in 2007.