“Mégantic”: a deeply human and touching choral work

“Mégantic”: a deeply human and touching choral work

and Guillaume Picard MISE À DAY

It is a deeply human and touching work that the artisans of the “Mégantic” series will offer on Club illico on Thursday, nearly 10 years after the tragedy that left 47 dead and forever marked the municipality of 5600 souls. 

Watching episodes 1 and 3 on Tuesday at the Imperial Cinema in Montreal, many were overcome with emotions, letting tears run down their cheeks to fully experience this disaster which, even today, remains painful for many Méganticois. .

The successive explosions and the burning of crude oil wagons that devastated the heart of Lac-Mégantic on July 6, 2013, were seen by all Quebecers on TV, but to meet people who, like Gabrielle (Lauren Hartley) and Patrice (Olivier Gervais-Courchesne), had just begun their love story, which is literally heartbreaking. Gabrielle is inspired by Geneviève Breton, 28, who took part in “Star Académie” in 2008 and was working on her first album, which was launched posthumously in 2014. In his case and for many other Méganticois, fate wanted his life – like his budding career – to end abruptly.

Emotion is also present in the third episode, the one focusing on the Lamarre brothers, Daniel (Éric Robidoux) and Vincent (Bruno Marcil). They are both inspired by the Lafontaine brothers, one of whom, a hero, averted the worst when he used machinery from his excavation company to pull wagons before they exploded. Vincent lost his wife, his brother and his sister-in-law at the Musi-Café, where many victims were gathered during an evening which was to take place like all the others. Hats off to Messrs. Robidoux and Marcil who do honor to their talent, just like the other actors directed by the director Alexis Durand-Brault (“Portrait-robot”, “As the aid of Béatrice”).

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We anticipate the episode dedicated to Bryan (Joakim Robillard), a volunteer firefighter who will be unable to survive after experiencing the horror. These people who died later inflate the number of Lac-Mégantic victims.

The eight episodes, which are so many “little films” concocted by the author Sylvain Guy (“Mafia inc.”, “Confessions”), focus on a victim, a family or a firefighter, for example, we presenting them before, during and after the derailment. The characters intersect from one episode to another, contributing to our attachment to them and being moved by what awaits them.

Mr. Guy, who has become friends with Méganticois over the course of his research, speaks of a “deeply human” and “transformative” project for him. It is immensely touching, it must be said, to experience the drama from the inside and to see that the necessary budget has been given to the creators of “Mégantic” so that the whole thing can be told with so much truth. It took over a year of post-production to recreate the explosions and fire, which never happens in our small market. This choral work thus has the means of its ambitions and should conquer other audiences internationally.

“For once in Quebec we are giving ourselves the means to tell our stories, I find it fabulous,” said Alexis Durand-Brault in the round table after the viewing. “It required us to find ways to fund the show. And, in particular, we added [money] through a sponsorship from Videotron to be able to do something that could do justice to the series, while respecting the event, ”said the vice-president of Quebecor Content, Denis Dubois.

We also recreated part of downtown Lac-Mégantic, including the street where the Musi-Café was located, in addition to buying wagons used to transport crude oil.

The series, as we have already underlined, is interested in humans through all these upheavals, evacuating the political dimension. The mayoress at the time, Colette Roy-Laroche, is therefore not in the game, since we experience the drama through ordinary people, but also through the locomotive driver Tom Harding, renamed Tim Richards (Duane Murray) in the series. We also discuss all the work done by social workers from the local team, which remains active in Lac-Mégantic a decade later.

The work is tinged with sensitivity and empathy, and above all, it is Quebecers who tell it, having taken care to meet the people of Mégantic. They were thus able to share part of their pain with all Quebecers.

Produced by ALSO, in collaboration with Quebecor Content, “Mégantic” is available from February 9 on Club illico.