Lac-Mégantic as seen by Philippe Falardeau

Lac-Mégantic seen by Philippe Falardeau


The Lac-Mégantic rail disaster is “a predictable tragedy that could easily have been avoided,” says director Philippe Falardeau in his documentary series Lac-Mégantic – this is not an accident, which lands on the Vrai platform on May 2 and whose trailer is unveiled this morning.

In this series, available in four one-hour episodes, Philippe Falardeau ( Le temps des raspberries, Mr. Lazhar) went to meet several stakeholders (bereaved families, but also experts from the rail industry) who agreed to come back to the events that led to that horrible night of July 6, 2013.

While the drama series Mégantic, launched last month on Club illico, offered to make us live the drama through the eyes of victims and survivors, the documentary series by Philippe Falardeau tries to demonstrate that the thesis of the accident does not hold water. 

This disaster, which claimed the lives of 47 innocent victims, is rather the direct consequence of a “system that continues to put corporate profit before the public good”, the filmmaker tries to demonstrate in his series.

Director Philippe Falardeau

“I could go further and say that not only was it predictable and avoidable, but that it could happen again, insists Falardeau in an interview. We saw it recently with [the derailment of a train] in Ohio. »

Philippe Falardeau spent more than four years researching and conducting interviews for this documentary series. The idea to look into the subject came to him a few years ago when he passed by a train track every morning on his way to take his daughter to daycare on his bicycle. 

< p>“I thought back to Mégantic, telling myself that, a few years after the tragedy, the problems of rail safety and the transportation of hazardous materials had surely been resolved,” he recalls.

“But when I read the book Mégantic: a tragedy announced, by Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny, I realized that nothing was entirely settled. It was a shock to learn that. And after the shock, there was anger. I think the desire to make the documentary was born out of that anger.

Generating debate

As the team of the Mégantic series did a few weeks ago, Philippe Falardeau will go to Mégantic on April 11 to present the first two episodes of his documentary to the people of Mégantic. The filmmaker will then fly to Cannes to attend the international premiere of his series, as part of the Canneséries event. 

If he doesn't believe that documentaries have the power to get things moving, Philippe Falardeau hopes that his series will challenge citizens enough to bring the debate to the public square. 

“The railway crosses a lot of cities in Quebec and hazardous materials continue to pass through these communities, he laments. We will have to start asking ourselves the question: are we waiting for the next disaster or are we changing things now? »