The Fabulous Destiny of…: Sara Montpetit Leads Suitors in Sébastien Pilote’s Maria Chapdelaine
Skipping school certainly contains its perks. First time actress (and climate change activist) Sara Montpetit has landed the lead role in Sébastien Pilote‘s fourth feature film, Maria Chapdelaine. The young thesp beat out about one thousand plus hopefuls for the role; she’ll be surrounded by Hélène Florent, Sébastien Ricard, Émile Schneider, Antoine-Olivier Pilon (Xavier Dolan’s Mommy), Robert Naylor (Denis Côté’s Ghost Town Anthology), Gilbert Sicotte (who played the lead in Pilote’s Cannes selected Le Vendeur), Gabriel Arcand with additional parts going to Henri Picard, Martin Dubreuil, Danny Gilmore, Arno Lemay, Charlotte St-Martin, Thomas Haché, and Xavier Rivard-Désy. Filming begins in Normandin, Quebec with a theatrical domestic release in December. A TIFF selection could be a possibility if readied in time — Pilote’s 2018 film The Fireflies Are Gone was a Karlovy Vary and Toronto film fest selection. Multipix’s Sylvain Proulx and ITEM 7’s Pierre Even are producing. Pilote reteams with cinematographer Michel La Veaux.
Gist: This is about a 16 year-old girl who lives with her family in rural Quebec in the 1910s. True pioneers, the Chapdelaine family worked tirelessly to push the boundaries of the forest. Where the harshness of everyday life is combined with the delicacy of a warm family life, Maria, strong and hopeful, finds herself faced with daunting dilemmas. François Paradis (Schneider), a free and wild woodcutter, promises Maria to return in the spring to marry him while Lorenzo Surprenant (Naylor) offers him an easy life in a city in the United States and Eutrope Gagnon (Pilon), valiant and modest farmer, took a lot of colonization, close to that of Chapdelaine. Between territory, family and love, Maria, pushed is into the adult world, will suddenly have to choose her future as a woman.
Worth Noting: Considered a classic (the book by Louis Hémon was written over one hundred years ago) we imagine that Pilote might rework the text not unlike how Greta Gerwig adapted Little Women. And speaking of Greta, the casting choice of Montpetit (who became a media figure for taking on the same type of actions as Greta Thunberg) certainly feels like an inspired choice — it is Pilote’s second straight project from a young female protagonist’s POV.