(The Smart Guys/The Wise Guys)
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 86 min
Cinak Compagnie Cinématographique Ltée.,
Les Productions Carle-Lamy Ltée,
Les Filmes Jean-Claude Labrecque Inc.
When the Quebec government orders a dozen villages in the upper Gaspé region to be relocated on the grounds that the communities are economically unfeasible – the land is arid and the villagers live on welfare – two brothers (Daniel Pilon and Donald Pilon) refuse to obey the order to move to another part of the province. After a shooting accident, the men flee to the woods and become outlaws, but during the ensuing manhunt, police shoot the wife (Louise Laparé) of one of them. The brothers struggle for their rights and freedom while the corrupt authorities try to contain and suppress them.
This Robin Hood fable was Jean-Claude Labrecque’s first fiction feature and shows some similarities in theme (the resistance to a corrupt society) to such other contemporary Quebec features as Clément Perron’s Taureau (1972), Gilles Carle’s La Vraie Nature de Bernadette (1972)and Denis Héroux’s Quelques arpents de neige (1972). Les Smattes, however, is somewhat more optimistic than these. Its blend of actuality and fiction was to become characteristic of Labrecque’s films, as was the shooting style he developed during his years as a cinematographer.