Micheline Lanctôt celebrates half a century of career

Micheline Lanctôt celebrates half a century of career

BET À DAY

“I've never had a career plan and I think my resume reflects it,” explains Micheline Lanctôt, laughing. At 75, the great lady of cinema and television has lost none of her legendary passion. Active, enthusiastic, grateful and a go-getter, she continues to look forward with the same passion for her different professions as when she started. Meeting with a great who celebrates her 50 years of career.

“I had a beautiful, full life and it is not over,” says Micheline Lanctôt, who we discovered at the cinema in The true nature of Bernadette in 1972, there is that 50 years already. 

“I'm not nostalgic at all, but when I look back, I say to myself: hey, damn it, I've done business with it! I have no regrets and above all, I have a lot of gratitude towards the life that sent me here.”

Micheline Lanctôt is everything you imagine: calm and frank, serious and funny, transparent, fascinating and open. 

Her career, rich in half a century of work, both in front of (in the cinema, on television) than behind the camera (as a director, screenwriter, producer and teacher), she built it stone by stone, with motivating leaps into the void. 

“I was offered things and I had the chance – an invaluable chance – to make many beautiful encounters which more or less modified my life trajectory, evokes the one who first studied music at the Vincent school. -from Indy for 12 years. Often, it happened like this: big challenges to which I could not say no, which represented too many great adventures. Maybe I'm an adventurer at heart?”

She explains that she owes a lot, in particular, to the nuns who trained her: the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary who made her education and which pushed the young girls of her time to undertake higher education. 

In order to “give them back a bit of luster” and to thank them, the filmmaker even made a film: Pour l'amour de Dieu, released in 2011, which won the Valois Magelis prize for best feature film. 

A multidisciplinary artist even before the term existed, Micheline Lanctôt confides that she has long been nicknamed “the all-rounder” by her colleagues. 

It's a strong word, yet thrown as a joke to the one who stood out from all by agreeing to take up each of the challenges that were thrown at her. This earned him, among other awards, the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival, the Genie award for best director for the feature film Sonatine (1984) and the AQCC SODEC award for the film Two Actresses (1993). 

“The arts were really, for me, the place where I felt at ease, adds the one who will take over the role by Martha Conley in the second season of the superb series Raspberry Timenext year. I quickly took advantage of all that it offered. I was born with a lot of facilities. My mother always said “Jack of all trades, master of none”: a dilettante in everything, but with an ease for drawing, music, drama, theater…»

Years of guerrilla warfare

Micheline Lanctôt made music (her first love), tried professional theater (only to be told that her voice was too deep!), turned to cartooning, applied for ONF and, by a happy coincidence, met Gilles Carle, who asked him to play in his film: The true nature of Bernadette. It was in 1972, and we know the rest of the story. 

“I don't know if I fully measured the extent of the challenges”, continues the one who then accumulated roles at television (Never two without you, Scoop, The Duval heirs, Omertà, Belle-Baie , O', Lifelong…) and at the cinema (we have seen her in more than forty films including, recently, Arsenault & fils and Arlette).

“When I was little, I was afraid of everything – the dark, monsters, I was very anxious – so I understood that I had to face my fears, she continues. The fear of the dark has remained with me all my life, when the sun goes down, I have a lump in my throat. But I trained myself to get past that.”

Straightforwardly, she explains that she “passed the plow for many people” (especially women) by fighting to take her place in the world of directing. 

“I admit that this were years of practically guerrilla warfare,” she says. 

Still today, the filmmaker, despite being recognized and honored many times, explains that she has to fight to have her projects accepted; because she tackles difficult subjects and she is not interested in box office films, she says. 

“We are still fighting against the prejudice that we make small intimate films of women, explains the artist for whom it is always the subject that takes precedence. It is a social problem, the patriarchy is still deeply rooted. It will take generations before this recovers, when socially people will be able to deal with each other on a true equal footing.”

If the winner of the Governor General's Award (prize for artistic achievement in cinema) in 2003 agreed to make films with a fraction of the budgets allocated to male directors, it is because for her, her films were more important than anything.   

Aging on screen 

The interpreter of the unforgettable Élise Beaupré in the series Unité 9< /em>– which will have lasted seven seasons from 2012 – is lucky to have “escaped the bun of Franfreluche” and the dictates of beauty and youth of the world of television and cinema. Her role in this series which featured a rich array of extremely complex female characters has, she believes, helped expand her acting parameters.

“I had roles that took me out of this niche of ageism, says the active woman who keeps herself in shape by working on the large plot of her property in the countryside with her landscape gardener lover. Not many of us have gotten rid of ageism, able to deliver characters that are old, but interesting, still active, and twisted. I'm lucky.”

The actress and filmmaker believes that it's the luck-encounters duo (“decisive, which are milestones allowing you to move forward”) that allowed her to last in the profession. . The richness of the roles too. 

“I wouldn't have lasted if I had had flat roles,” says the one who moved us like an old lady being abused in Cerebrum 2< /em>. As for talent, it's not for me to judge, I'm very strict with myself.” 

At 75, Micheline Lanctôt still has a host of projects in mind and ahead. she. It was her that the director and producer Roger Frappier went to see to script the life of Saint Marguerite d'Youville. The film, which will be called The Strong Woman, will recount her life, “which is an incredible struggle of every second to achieve its ends: to take care of the poor and the sick”, describes the one who loved doing the necessary research to immerse herself in the eventful life of this extraordinary character .

His only big regret so far? Having had to give up, due to hip surgery and quarantine requested in the Yukon in times of COVID, his role in the film Polaris by Kirsten Carthew (2022). 

“I was so disappointed, but it was Muriel Dutil who got the role and I'm very happy for her,” she adds, good player.  

The Percé International Film and Art Festival – Les Percéides

The 14th edition of the Les Percéides festival will take place from August 16 to 21 and Micheline Lanctôt will be the guest of honor and the president of the jury. A tribute will be paid to him on the evening of the presentation of his film The true nature of Bernadette in a restored version. 

The director will also deliver a masterclass – on the water! – which she sees more as an informal discussion during which she will answer questions from people who are always curious to know more about her unique journey.

“I am very flattered and it is with great pleasure that I'll be there, she said. I'm going to bring my book Letters to a Young Filmmaker and use it as a starting point. I haven't been there for about thirty years, when I was wandering around Gaspésie. I have extraordinary memories in Percé!» 

♦ To consult the festival program: perceides.ca 

Micheline Lanctôt in 5 roles that marked her 

1972 | BERNADETTE IN THE TRUE NATURE OF BERNADETTE

This role m kicked off in all sorts of ways!” 

2009 | SUZIE IN THE FILM SUZIE  

A role that I really enjoyed doing, that I had written for myself, but that unfortunately few people saw. I was a depressed and insomniac taxi driver who picks up an autistic child in his taxi, because the parents are no longer capable. A character that I found very endearing and a film that I really like.” 

2012 to 2019 | ÉLISE BEAUPRÉ IN UNIT 9

It is one of the roles that has most marked the public. I've never had so much love from the public and it's upset my image a bit, because I was a bit of a bad guy before. There, I was the good one, even if it is curious that it was a murderous role that allowed me that (laughs). » 

2021 | THE WIDOW ALZHEIMER IN THE “OLD COUPLE” EPISODE OF THE SERIES PATRICK SENÉCAL PRESENTS

“< /strong>A shooting in the middle of COVID, but another beautiful composition role as I like them. I really liked that! Patrick Senécal is also a very good director for a guy who writes.” 

2022 | MARTHA CONLEY IN THE TIME OF THE RASPBERRIES

She is a farmer, a peasant, she makes business work and it has to work. She lost her son who was her favorite. Since she considers Latinos to be less than nothing, this was the side of the character that I had a little more trouble with. But hey, she's a boss who isn't sentimental at all, a strong character and a great series that we're proud of!” 

3 notable films in the cinema (as screenwriter and director)   

SONATINE (1984)

Two broken young girls take an ultimate decision in this multi-award-winning drama starring the very young Pascale Bussières and Marcia Pilote. 

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD (2010)

The director's tribute to the nuns who trained her in her youth. The story of Léonie, 11, who has a crush on a father visiting her school. The same one that makes Sister Cécile's heart beat faster, played by Madeleine Péloquin.  

THE TRAP OF ISSOUDUN< strong> (2003)

On the set of the film The Trap of Issoudun.

The story is about a woman who escapes suicide after drowning her two children and her encounter with a policeman who will try to help her.