Il ne faut pas mourir pour ça
(Don't Let it Kill You)
Format: 35mm Black & White
Runtime: 75 min
Les Films J.P. Lefebvre
Il ne faut pas mourir pour ça recounts one day in the life of Abel (Marcel Sabourin), a gentle, mildly eccentric and absent-minded man whose mother (Monique Champagne) is dying. He prefers to live each moment as it comes (the film opens with a slogan on a blackboard: "I want to change the course of things – but it is things which change me"), but is still oddly indifferent toward his girlfriend, Madeleine (Claudine Monfette). Behaving in a somewhat peculiar manner, Abel makes breakfast and prepares to go out. He visits his mother in hospital and learns that his father, who abandoned the family and is living in Brazil, has sent him $10,000. Later, by chance, he meets Mary (Suzanne Grossman), an old girlfriend he has not seen for five years; she tells him she is about to be married in Paris. When Abel returns home to wait for Madeleine, the hospital calls to tell him his mother has died.
Il ne faut pas mourir pour ça, Lefebvre’s third feature and his first film to achieve wide critical acclaim, is an ironic and poetic meditation on individualism and fatalism. Intimate and gently comic, it is similar in tone to several of the films of the time by young Czech filmmakers, though its central character is clearly a product of the Lefebvre canon. This film was the first instalment of Lefebvre’s trilogy focusing on the central character of Abel, a Quebec Everyman distinguished by his individualistic and mildly confused personality; Marcel Sabourin reprised the role in Le Vieux Pays oj Rimbaud est mort (1977) and Aujourd’hui ou jamais (1997).
The first Canadian feature ever shown at the Festival de Cannes, Il ne faut pas mourir pour ça is one of Lefebvre’s major works – and certainly one of his most appealing. The film shared the Grand Prize (with Allan King’s Warrendale) at the 1967 Festival of Canadian Films in Montreal.