A group of government workers discontented by budget cutbacks at the Ministry of Culture decide to earn quick money by producing a pornographic film inside the Legislative Assembly of Quebec. The resulting film is inadvertently entered into competition at the Cannes Film Festival intended to be a prop for Canadian culture, shocking government officials.Written by
Extremely enjoyable, but with an appeal limited only to one time and place.
This film is a pseudo-documentary or 'mocumentary' re-creation which parodies actual events that took place within the Quebec provincial government in Canada, and created a scandal that for several days monopolised the attention of the media within Quebec, as well as in much of the rest of Canada. The events concerned took place at a time when drastic Provincial budget cuts, designed to overcome many years of budget deficiencies, were making the life of provincial civil servants (government employees) very difficult, and the story broke with the uncovering of a pornographic movie intended to be marketed for their benefit, which had been made with Provincially owned equipment by a group employed to create publicity films for the provincial government.
In Canada this story became a nine day wonder which was given a great deal of media attention. This film, which re-creates the story, was produced commercially, initially for showing on Quebec TV, but later for release to cinemas, and eventually for sale in what appears to have been very limited quantities (possibly only in a French language version) as a VHS home video tape. Most of the tapes currently in circulation, including mine, are more likely to have been home recorded from the TV presentations. French-Canadians are noted for their very keen sense of humour, and clearly this TV production was originally made for the local (Quebec) market. The interest shown by the rest of Canada in this story probably surprised its producers, but they were quick to release a cable TV version dubbed in English. However the story is probably almost unknown outside Canada, and even here it was fairly quickly forgotten. Although there were plenty of very amusing topical references in the film which added greatly to its success at the time, the film made no serious attempt to create an independent story that would continue to remain of interest once the original events had been forgotten. I understand that the film is still occasionally screened by cable TV companies in the U.S.A.; but with no knowledge of the background to its production it would be unlikely to be greatly appreciated. It is therefore difficult to discuss this film on IMDb in the same way as most other films.
Quebec politics involve many distinct threads, most of which were quite cleverly parodied by this film. In Quebec there has always been a love-hate relationship with the federal government as well as with English speaking Canada, and for a long time public opinion in Quebec has been bitterly divided between federalists and those who support full independence. These is also an almost incestuous feeling towards France as the foundation of francophone culture, and an obsessive determination to maintain the virtually exclusive use of the french language in Quebec. Recently there have also been strong concerns expressed about the very relaxed social attitude which, what used to be a conservative Catholic society, now takes towards such social issues as nudity on TV, sex shops and striptease parlours in all major centres. The exploitation of all these attitudes provided much of the humour in this film and, to those who are aware of this, it is absurd to regard the film as little more than a piece of soft porn in its own right. When it was released, viewers who appreciated the parody in this film rated it very highly, I would have given it a rating very close to 10. But today standing on its own as a fictional story of unauthorised filming, it would be very hard to give it a rating of more than 5. The comments here by William from Seattle (who probably saw it on Canadian TV) would be typical of those to be expected from the relatively few viewers living south of the border. I have therefore compromised here and rated it at 7 for IMDb. Such a rating does not mean very much as it is an almost unique film which any individual viewer may or may not appreciate. It can perhaps be loosely compared with the U.K. film Scandal (1989), and the recent U.S. film Farenheit 9/11, where the theme is also scandal in government. But these were both associated with scandal within the government, not among its salaried staff, and involved security considerations which were much more serious. These films were therefore much closer to true documentaries than the 'mocumentary' style used for Scandale.
Hopefully the brief notes above will provide sufficient background to help anyone seeing this film who is unaware of its background to enjoy it; but it can never again have as much appeal as it first did for those who were aware of the original story.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this