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« Jean-Claude Lord partage ce même désir d’aller voir au-delà des apparences et d’illustrer la « conscience » des tenants du pouvoir dans le monde politique et dans celui des médias. »
— Yves Lever, HISTOIRE GÉNÉRALE DU CINÉMA DU QUÉBEC
Director: Jean-Claude Lord Screenplay: Michel Tremblay, Jean-Claude Lord Cast: Jacques Boulanger, Monique Mercure, Claude Michaud, Benoît Girard, Anne Létourneau Producers: Pierre David Print Source: Cinémathèque québécoise
Superstar host of an enormously popular variety show and a crooner of note, Jean-Claude, aka Jeannot (Jacques Boulanger, whose own real-life career mirrors that of his character in many ways), is the idol of the province’s aging aunties and the young songbirds who appear on his program. And he makes the most of his celebrity, coasting on his fame to hype mediocre products for big dollars and sleeps with anything that moves. His wife (Monique Mercure) turns a blind eye to his peccadilloes, his agent (Claude Michaud) wrangles lucrative contracts for him and the industry’s movers and shakers eat out of his hand, because Jeannot is a fountain of money for all. Things aren’t as rosy as the tacky décor on his trashy show, though. Jeannot detests his job, resents his audience and hates the top dogs of the show-biz scene. If Jeannot is rather lacking in scruples, plenty of those around him have none whatsoever. Watching teenage singers get swindled by their treacherous agents, seething at the behind-the-scenes double-talk and deceit, and recognizing to what point the public is treated like livestock, Jeannot snaps.
A vitriolic savaging of Quebec’s creative community in the 1970s and a kick in the nuts of political correctness, PARLEZ-NOUS D'AMOUR, released in 1976, is a genuine moment of reckoning. Disgusted by their surroundings, two established talents courageously revealed the backstage sleaze of Quebec’s show-business realm. The director and screenwriter Jean-Claude Lord (PANIQUE, LES COLOMBES), a pioneer of genre film in Quebec, and the novelist and playwright Michel Tremblay, responsible for classics like “Les Belles-Soeurs” and “C’t’à ton tour, Laura Cadieux,” united to create one of the most diabolically funny and controversial works to come from this province. The incredible dialogue in PARLEZ-NOUS D'AMOUR, flowing from Tremblay’s distinctive pen, is right up there with those of cult classics like ELVIS GRATTON and the French-dubbed SLAP SHOT. For all the hysterical laughter conjured by the countless sordid absurdities in this feature, the opening note to the effect that “this film is inspired by real events, it’s not a story out of the overflowing imagination of an author” comes back to haunt—and to hit the audience where it hurts the most. At long last, the obvious affinity between Fantasia and PARLEZ-NOUS D'AMOUR becomes a reality, and that’s one show you have to tune into!
—Nicolas Archambault (translated by Rupert Bottenberg)