CLÉMENT VAILLANT – THE HUFFPOST
This Quebec island served as the setting for the film “La Grande Séduction”, which received an ovation at Cannes in 2003.
CINEMA – This summer, the culture department of HuffPost shares his favorites. We offer you a series of works to look at while traveling… Even when you’re not going on vacation. After the trip to Berlin with Run, Lola, run and the ride in North Carolina on the Outer Banks from the eponymous series, heading for Quebec with The Great Seduction.
Direction the picturesque village of Harrington Harbour, a rock of less than two square kilometers located 1,500 kilometers north of Montreal. Here, do not imagine being able to eat your Big Mac at the edge of the water. The first McDonald’s is over 500 kilometers away. Besides, there are no cars on this island, nor even paved roads. The approximately 200 inhabitants of this fishing village with colorful facades move on endless wooden pontoons. A postcard landscape that served as the setting for one of the most popular comedies in Quebec, The Great Seduction by Jean-Francois Pouliot.
Convince a doctor to settle on an island
This film released in 2003 tells the story of a small fictional village called Sainte-Marie-La-Mauderne. On this island inhabited by former fishermen who live on social minima, hope is reborn when an investor plans to set up a factory there and create jobs. But before signing the contract, they require a doctor to reside full-time on the island.
Germain (Raymond Bouchard), the mayor of the village, then succeeded in convincing the young Christopher (David Boutin). This doctor will leave his daily life in a Montreal hospital to discover island life. In order to know all his tastes, the villagers bug him and bend over backwards to make him happy. They decide to play cricket, his favorite sport, and prepare beef Stroganov for him, his favorite dish. An island so perfect in his eyes that it becomes very suspicious…
Mixed-cargo as a mode of transport
The landscapes of Harrington Harbor are undoubtedly the charm of Jean-François Pouliot’s work. So much so that the English-speaking village experienced a resurgence of tourist interest following the release of the film.
And getting to Harrington Harbor is quite an adventure in itself! To access the island there are only two solutions: the helicopter or the mixed freighter, the Bella Desgagnés. This ensures the connection and supplies these isolated villages on the North Shore every week from the port of Rimouski, located about 300 kilometers downstream from the city of Quebec. A memorable trip during which the most assiduous passengers can observe fin whales blowing in the St. Lawrence. Or getting up at four in the morning to watch the day’s lobster catch being loaded into the ship’s containers. An extraordinary expedition.
Beyond Fiction, The Great Seduction also raises a very concrete problem in Quebec (as in France for that matter). How can we fight against medical deserts and thus preserve our rural areas? On this subject, our Quebec cousins have a very different approach from ours, as exposed by the program Cash Investigation on France 2 last January.
Young graduate doctors do not benefit from the freedom to settle when they leave their studies and must first practice in remote areas. In exchange for a mission of at least five years in remote areas, young doctors receive bonuses. A solution that makes it possible to limit areas without doctors, such as Sainte-Marie-La-Mauderne, in a province three times the size of France.
The Great Seduction was presented at the opening of the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes in 2003, receiving a nine-minute ovation. This jewel of Quebec cinema was also hailed by the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. It is available on the Amazon Prime platform.