Coteau Rouge

Coteau Rouge

DVD - 2012 | French
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Four generations of the Blanchard family live in a popular neighborhood in Longueuil under the watchful eye of patriarch Honore Blanchard, a retired fisherman who used to make extra money by disposing of corpses.
Publisher: Monteal : TVA Films, [2012]
Edition: Widescreen
Description: 1 videodisc (87 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in
Branch Call Number: DVD Cote


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Dec 31, 2014

Coteau Rouge, we’re assured, is one of Montreal’s meanest and poorest suburbs although it’s hard to imagine this when we’re presented with a postcard neighbourhood of smiling faces and quaint candy-coloured bungalows. The Blanchard family have lived here for generations; widowed patriarch Honoré and son Fernand run a corner gas station (a far cry from their previous job of dumping dead gangsters into the St. Lawrence) while granddaughter Hélène is married to Éric, a sleazy land developer whose bonhomie is as false as his wife’s “pregnancy” (to avoid all the nastier effects of carrying a child Hélène has her mother act as surrogate while she prances about with a beach ball under her blouse). The fun really starts however when Éric decides he’s going to buy up the Blanchard’s neighbourhood in order to build condos. Although a few residents take the money and run the majority that remain, including Honoré and Fernand, decide to put up the fight of their lives. While watching this featherweight comedy one gets the impression that director André Forcier had a pair of rose-tinted glasses firmly in place throughout production. There’s enough family togetherness and forced poignancy for a string of Disney clones; a side story involving Fernand’s dying wife and adorably resourceful son really pushes the pathos envelope. Furthermore, the shallow character of Éric is the type of evil capitalist caricature one expects in these types of films while the residents of Coteau Rouge are the kind of folk for whom the phrase “salt of the earth” was coined. Add to that a few silly devices (man-eating sturgeons?!) and you have all the makings of what should have been a complete flop. What saved the film for me however was its sense of playfulness and some very funny scenes. The moralistic message of family values vs. corporate greed is definitely overdone, but for a bit of cinematic fluff it had me smiling throughout.

Feb 24, 2012

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