Le Vieux pays où Rimbaud est mort
(The Old Country Where Rimbaud Died)
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 113 min
Institute National de l'Audiovisuel,
Le vieux pays où Rimbaud est mort, the second film of Lefebvre’s “Abel” trilogy (after Il ne faut pas mourir pour ça and before La mort du Père prodigue) follows Abel (Sabourin) on a journey to France to visit the land of his ancestors. While on his trip, Abel discovers that the France he’d been taught to believe in no longer exists — Abel’s distance from the old country is more than geographical.
While in France, Abel visits Paris, Charleville (Rimbaud’s birthplace) and the Côte d'Azur, and all three excursions provide visually stunning explorations of identity, melancholy and solitude. Through Abel’s searching and personal encounters, Lefebvre reveals the paradoxes of living in a former colony.
The film, made as the Parti Québécois came to power, is unfashionably critical of Quebec’s colonial relationship to France. It remains an insightful poetic commentary about how Canadians are still fighting the old colonial battles with European powers who could care less about their former holdings.
An official Canada-France co-production, made on a larger budget than usual for Lefebvre, Le vieux pays où Rimbaud est mort is one of the director's most accessible films, yet it didn’t fare so well in commercial distribution.