Just when you thought you had enough of this long election, here comes Philippe Falardeau’s Guibord s’en va-t-en guerre to put a smile on your face. Everything aspects of Canadian political life is parodied. Patrick Huard is Steve Guibord, an independent MP for the Quebec riding of Prescot-Makadewà-Rapides-aux-Outardes. Steve is introduced through the character of Souverain Pascal (Irdens Exantus), a young Haitian student coming to Canada for an internship. Souverain is in awe as he witnesses Guibord trying to navigate between unions demands, local mayors and Aboriginal protests and roadblocks. When the Prime Minister (Paul Doucet) announces that he plans to go to war in a foreign country, Guibord finds out that he holds the balance of power and that his vote will be the deciding one. Guibord is against it and even if the PM is offering him the ministry of Aboriginal affairs, Guibord wants to ask his constituents what they think. This is the kind of guy he is. But it’s not that easy. Even in his household. His wife Suzanne (Suzanne Clément) is for war, while his daughter Lune (Clémence Dufresne-Deslières) is against it. Town hall consultations are held and it soon goes crazy as any nuts in the country are coming to the riding to give their opinions. A mayor claims that war is good because it will bring jobs. Others are pleading Guibord with forced emotions, peppered with ridiculous flowery language, to vote against war. And Souverain’s enthusiasm shines a new light on the cynicism that prevails in among Canadians about politicians. He does video streams with Haitians about his experience with Canadian politics. For the People of Port-au-prince, Steve Guibord is a hero of democracy. Guibord s’en va-t-en guerre is Gatineau born Falardeau’s finest screenplay. Funny and surprising, with great attention to details and a willingness to laugh at ourselves as Canadians. Exantus is Huard’s co-star here, not a mere supporting player. Souverain is the heart of the film and with that smile you can’t help falling in love with him. Paul Doucet’s portrait of a Harper-like Prime Minister is hillarious. He plays the piano and he has a drum set in the living room of 24 Sussex. Only problem with Doucet is that this Anglophone PM speaks English with a French accent. What makes up for it is the fun Doucet is having parodying our Prime Minister. Quebec comedian Patrick Huard sails through the film as if it was the easiest thing. A piece of cake. But it’s far from easy. Beside playing a demanding starring role, hitting every notes correctly without ever overplaying, Huard has to make sure that he always let’s the other actors shine. This is that kind of film. The more effective each actors are in their parts, the better the film will be. And it is among the best film this year. I must not forget masterful composer Martin Léon, who cleverly waves Aboriginal voices throughout his score. It is beautiful. As is Ronald Plante’s photography. What a great country we have. Don’t forget to vote on October 19th.
Guibord s’en va-t-en guerre (Going to war with Guibord or My internship in Canada)
In French, English and Creole with English subtitles