Deterritorialization and the crisis of recognition in turn of the millennium Québec Film

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This essay examines the role of deterritorialization in protagonists identity crises in three turn of the millennium films from Québec: Louis Bélanger's Post Mortem (1999), Denis Villeneuve's Maelström (2000), and André Turpin's Un crabe dans la tête (2001). It considers these works and their filmmakers status as representative of a new generation of filmmakers in Québec. Rather than propose an explicitly territorialized type of film that some critics appeared to expect on their release, these films stage the story of an individual protagonist's alienation and crisis in meaning. In each film, this crisis involves a clear encounter with death, accompanied by some form of deterritorialization, and often explores the redemptive power of love. In spite of the ambivalent response of institutional critics, these films were highly successful at the Jutra and Genie awards ceremonies, demonstrating that their stories, their images and performances struck a chord with the contemporary film industry's stakeholders. The essay argues that while not superficially conforming to expectations for a deeply territorialized form of national cinema, these directors and the stories they tell are, indeed, reflective of twenty-first century Québec society. These films writer-directors and performers participate in the discourse of the post-national; secure in their québécité, they are free to embrace the multicultural, cosmopolitan world city, of which Montréal serves as a unique and dynamic exemplar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-189
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Review of Canadian Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013


  • André Turpin
  • Denis Villeneuve
  • Louis Bélanger
  • Quebec
  • deterritorialization
  • film


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