Hochelaga, Land of Souls
Rated 14 Accompaniment (Language May Offend, Sexual Content) ~ Runs 100 minutes
Dir.: François Girard, Canada
Samian, Vincent Perez, Gilles Renaud, Raoul Trujillo
In French, Mohawk, and Algonquin with English subtitles.
“ Hochelaga, Land of Souls is a spectacular and stunning achievement. It’s a sweeping and essential offering with its epic scope and impressive scale. The grand production values alone make François Girard’s latest film one to watch... but the ingenuity and inclusivity of its retelling of history are the facets of the film that impress the most. Hochelaga mirrors Girard’s The Red Violin with its tale that spans different periods of history to see the life that treasured relics hold and the cultural lessons they share when they pass from one hand to the next... The film looks at the history of Canada by zeroing in on a sinkhole at the stadium at McGill... The rare occurrence becomes a research opportunity for restless archaeology student Baptiste Asigny, who excavates the site in search of evidence of the Iroquois village of Hochelaga where Jacques Cartier and the Iroquois are believed to have made contact in 1535... Hochelaga explores the many lives that have crossed this part of Montreal throughout the ages. The film spans from the pre-contact years to present day... The souls of the Iroquois haunt the land with a breathtaking narrative that Girard intercuts throughout the film and shows Hochelaga with the original inhabitants of the territory... The lives of these early souls echo throughout the film as Asigny and his team dig away through the field and discover artifacts from the past. An iron plate from a stove, for example, whisks us back to 1687 for a tender love story between a French settler named Étienne Maltais and an Iroquois woman named Akwi during the outbreak of a deadly plague... The significance of material things returns when Asigny discovers some old rifles and unearths a tale of treason told through an episode involving the Patriots and the Loyalist Army during the rebellion of 1837. Ditto the find of a crucifix that introduces the sought after Jacques Cartier.” - Patrick Mullen, Cinemablographer. “François Girard’s sixth feature proves a worthy return to the strengths and ambitions of Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould and The Red Violin...Like those two earlier art-house successes, Hochelaga... rewards with a rich cinematic banquet” - Variety