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France, 1967

Production : Gaumont

Programmed by Naomie Décarie-Daigneault


Les films du DOCfest


To exploit a huge iron deposit, a private company built a railway line in the middle of the Innu hunting territory, linking the Schefferville mines to the port of Sept-Îles. The documentary explores the condition of the indigenous people of Labrador, their state of dispossession, and the role and meaning of the railway in this context.

A word from Tënk

Le train du Labrador is Arthur Lamothe’s first film, focusing on Innu people. Commissioned by the Gaumont Film Company, then in the midst of producing a series on trains of the world, it was filmed quickly and with a minimal budget. Not only can we feel the passion and energy of direct cinema at its apogee, with Lamothe as a worthy representative, but he gives us meaningful access to previously unexplored territory of Quebec filmmaking. Here, Lamothe lays the groundwork for what would become his signature approach: filmmaking that is fundamentally engaged and determined to change perspectives on Indigenous experiences. But above all, Le train du Labrador demonstrates a rare sensitivity and lucidity towards the fragile survival of a nation. It is a cinematographic account of a man witnessing the dispossession of a people and who decides not to stand idly by, to take up the unequal arms of memory, symbolism and archives, and to fight back. Experiencing this vertiginous work from Lamothe forces us to face up to a very Canadian hypocrisy: we’ve known about this for a long time.

Naomie Décarie-Daigneault
Tënk’s Artistic Director

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Item 1 of 4