Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 97 min
National Film Board of Canada
The Gilbert family lives in the Beauce region of Quebec (depicted as a sort of Québécois Deep South) where they represent, to the other villagers, all that is evil in their midst. The mother (Monique Lepage) and her daughter Gigi (Louise Portal) are forced by poverty into prostitution. The son, Taureau (André Melançon), a Herculean and simple-minded young man, has long been the village scapegoat. Hired to do the dirtiest jobs, he is feared for his strength yet desired for his sexuality. He falls in love with Denise (Michéle Magny), a young schoolteacher who discovers his true nature. But the villagers, consumed by their jealousy and rage toward Taureau, decide Denise is Taureau’s victim and destroy him in the barn where the couple meets.
Taureau was Clément Perron’s first solo fiction feature, although he had more than forty previous film credits at the National Film Board. Released a year after the highly successful Mon oncle Antoine (1972), which Perron wrote, Taureau is a stylized melodrama that, like Mon oncleAntoine, captures a palpable sense of rural Quebec life (Perron was born in the same mining region that is depicted in both films). Distinguished by fine performances and production values, Taureau offers a striking portrait of a particular place and people and of a central character inevitably victimized by them. The film was well received critically, enjoyed box-office success in Quebec and had a wide theatrical release in English Canada.