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Banff Television Festival 2000
Albertine play became popular MOW
by: Jun 12, 2000 Print

The film Albertine, en cinq temps had its premiere as a tv movie in February at this year's retrospective edition of Rendez-vous du cinema quebecois, the same week the Michel Tremblay stage play was presented for a second time at the l'Espace Go theatre in Montreal.

The tv movie was adapted by directors Martine Beaulne, who directed the live-theatre performance, and Andre Melancon, and produced by Pierre Beaudry of Les Productions Sogestalt, a company in the expanding l'Equipe Spectra orbit.

Albertine was not shot "off the stage," but rather fully remounted and filmed on 16mm stock as a 90-minute drama over 12 days on location in Montreal and in Oka, Que.

In Albertine, the lead character - Albertine at age 70 - is played by Monique Mercure. The narrative unfolds as Albertine shares her memories, mostly with earlier versions of herself, or at least the women she had been in her past. The all-star cast, with each actor playing Albertine at different stages in her life, includes Andree Lachapelle, Macha Limonchik, Elise Guilbault and Sophie Clement. Guylaine Tremblay plays a neighbor, Madeleine. Craft credits go to musicians Claude Lamothe and Jacques Roy, veteran cinematographer Thomas Vamos, art director Francois Barbeau, who also did the stage play, and film editor Andre Corriveau.

"The stage play was hugely popular in Quebec when it was first presented two years ago," says producer Beaudry. "Michel Tremblay is like that, 'My play has done its time [he reckoned] and now it can be presented for television.' "

Albertine's producer says the cast for the stageplay also star in the telefilm, a significant factor in view of the short shooting schedule and modest budget of $825,000.

The telefilm is nominated for best tv movie at Banff 2000 and aired on Radio-Canada this past March to an entirely respectable Beaux Dimanches audience of 656,000, and will air on Tele-Quebec in the coming months. Other funding sources include Telefilm Canada, the Canadian Television Fund, cable-broadcaster Cogeco and international French-track broadcaster TV5.

In an April press release, Sogestalt said it was especially proud of its Rockie Award nomination, one of only 84 out of a total of 1,028 entries.

Tremblay's remarkable creative output

In three decades, Tremblay's literary and stage output has been remarkable - 22 stage plays including Les Belles-Soeurs and Hosanna, three musical comedies and 11 novels including six in the Plateau Mont-Royal Chronicles series and Le Coeur decouvert, a novel published in French, English and German. He has also authored many more book and theatrical translations, literary essays and song lyrics as well as screenplays destined for film and television.

Sogestalt is currently developing Don Quichotte, a new telefilm for Radio-Canada and Tele-Quebec based on the Dominique Champagne stage play. Beaudry and variety director Mario Rouleau expect to start shooting on location in Quebec's majestic Tadoussac region sometime this fall.

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