The Company of Strangers
(Strangers in Good Company/Le Fabuleux Gang des septs)
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 101 min
David De Volpi,
National Film Board of Canada
When their tour bus breaks down in the Quebec countryside, eight elderly women are stranded at a deserted farmhouse. They have only their wits, their memories and their conversations with each other to sustain them. Through the long days and nights, this remarkable group of strangers shares life stories and exchanges intimate thoughts, turning the crisis into a magical time of humour and spirit.
Using non-professional actors – the youngest of whom was sixty-nine – director Cynthia Scott elicits some lively and truly moving performances with a script that draws on the women’s real-life experiences. The Company of Strangers is a film about people who are old, rather than a film about old people. There are no pat answers or romantic, fatal diseases. Instead, there are just eight women who have seen the changes the century has brought, and the film allows the viewer to discover the value of each one. The result is a surprising and insightful drama.
The biggest-grossing film in National Film Board history (exceeding four million dollars outside Canada), The Company of Strangers was released internationally as Strangers in Good Company and was very well received. In addition to being named Grand Prize winner at the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Filmfest and Most Popular Canadian Film at the Vancouver International Film Festival, it received six Genie Award nominations, winning for David Wilson’s film editing.