A quarter of a century ago, host and actress Marie-Soleil Tougas and her husband, filmmaker Jean-Claude Lauzon (A zoo at night , Léolo), lost their lives in a plane crash in the Far North.
At 27, Marie-Soleil Tougas had already worked in the body for 15 years. She and her brother, Sébastien, made their debut in fiction in the soap opera Peau debanana. As a child, she had already acted in a few commercials, but this role of Zoé, the daughter of the characters played by Yves Corbeil and Louise Deschâtelets, triggered the avalanche of roles that followed.
At 43, Jean-Claude Lauzon had walked the steps of Cannes and the red carpet of the Toronto International Film Festival thanks to his works.
A cultural biography filled with love
To mark the 25th anniversary of the tragic end of their story, Jean-François Poisson – who had the idea with Sophie Charest – directed the documentary Marie-Soleil and Jean-Claude: beyond the stars. His film, produced by Attraction, looks back on the journey of the two artists, but also on the tragedy that took them away on August 10, 1997.
Overflowing with love, this cultural biography first dwells on the professional and personal life of the actress – seen in particular in Chambres en ville and Chop Suey– as well as those of the filmmaker, then to the accident that cost them their lives. The bulk of the film (a good hour) is devoted to testimonies of love from the relatives of the two victims, among others those of André Robitaille, Guy Fournier, Patricia Paquin, Nathalie Petrowski and Gaston Lepage, in addition to brushing the cultural portrait of the time. The plane crash and the ensuing media turmoil are not touched on until the last few minutes.
Most of the relatives who testified in this biography say it: the couple formed by Marie-Soleil and Jean-Claude was ill-matched, at first sight. Each was the extreme of the other, and their highs were as strong as their lows. Her: the young television premiere, who lived at a hundred miles an hour and who dreamed of a love as big and as powerful as in the songs of Léo Ferré. Him: a gruff, talented filmmaker who, even if he knew how to make people laugh, had a very bad temper.
“I watched [the documentary] and I was overwhelmed, first by the happiness of both and the pleasure of the people who showed their love for each,” indicated Gaston Lepage during a round table in which the QMI Agency participated.
Despite some lengths, the documentary is very touching and interesting. It features many never-before-seen family archive items. Excerpts from diaries, read by Kim Despatis and Daniel Parent, provide access to the point of view of the missing protagonists.
Back to the accident
Marie-Soleil was nauseous that day. At least that's what she would have told the comrades of the expedition after a first stop, earlier in the day. This suggests to the actor Gaston Lepage, who watched helplessly at the scene, “that Jean-Claude was probably looking for a bag for Marie-Soleil [a few seconds before crashing with his Cessna]. Maybe he wasn't looking forward, but was digging in the pockets behind the seats,” he said.
“Let's be sure of one thing: I I saw the plane arrive on the ground, and I know that they were both alive after the impact. The impact was relatively smooth. The plane hit the trees and therefore slowed down enormously. It was not a head-on crash. But the fire took three seconds later…”, then added the actor still affected by these events.
They were both detached when the authorities extricated their remains from the burned cabin. The exact cause of the accident remains unknown to this day. An optical illusion or distraction are among the hypotheses raised in the accident report.
Marie-Soleil and Jean-Claude: beyond the stars is available on True.