Entertainment Canada

“At the heart of Cité Mémoire”: story of an ode to Montreal

In addition to making Montrealers dream for nearly five years, the crazy $ 20 million project that is the Cité Mémoire outdoor projection route is at the heart of a documentary that chronicles its genesis and testifies to the cultural vitality of the metropolis.

Available on Club illico this Thursday, At the heart of Cité Mémoire tells how the multimedia attraction took shape in the abounding imaginations of creators Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, who collaborated with playwright Michel Marc Bouchard to account in their own way on some important slices of Montreal’s history. Designers have been working on their urban “baby” for over 10 years.

Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon

Photo courtesy Productions du Rapide-Blanc and Janice Zolf Productions

Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon

“Montreal is the city of festivals. We celebrate jazz, humor, the circus … but when do we celebrate Montreal? Our motto in Quebec is “Je me souviens”, but in reality we don’t remember much. It was therefore to respond to this idea, this desire to remember, to talk about who we are, and to be able to do activities with a technological component, that we designed “Cité Mémoire” “, summarized Michel Lemieux, by specifying that the prospect of making a complementary documentary was in the boxes from the beginnings of the company.

Photo courtesy Productions du Rapide-Blanc and Janice Zolf Productions

In the film directed by Janice Zolf and Sylvie Van Brabant, we are entitled to visual and sound samples of the grandiose Cité Mémoire experience and its main figures, from Leonard Cohen to Maurice Richard and Joe Beef.

Photo courtesy Productions du Rapide-Blanc and Janice Zolf Productions

Posted at the corner of Saint-Sacrement and Saint-François-Xavier streets, in Old Montreal, Michel Lemieux, Victor Pilon and Michel Marc Bouchard detail the implementation of their ambitious idea.

Also available in an English version, At the heart of Cité Mémoire has previously featured and won a slew of awards at festivals in Argentina and Ontario.

“To look upward”

Inaugurated in the spring of 2016, in time for the celebrations of Montreal’s 375th anniversary, which were held a year later, and produced by the NPO Montréal en Histoires, the Cité Mémoire route takes place in three pivotal districts of the metropolis, the Old Town. Montreal, the Old Port and downtown.

To take advantage of it, you connect to the application (free and available in four languages) on your mobile phone and walk around the city’s cult places. More than twenty paintings come to life all around us, with characters, staging, words and music. The work emerges from the brick walls, the soil, the trees, and explains Montreal’s past and its highlights.

Photo courtesy Productions du Rapide-Blanc and Janice Zolf Productions

“Often when we walk in the street, we look down, towards the sidewalk, so as not to beat ourselves up. We no longer have the reflex, in a city, to walk around looking upwards. Walking to the next board we see a bundle of stuff we had never seen before, [immeubles] extraordinary, because we had never looked up, ”said Michel Lemieux.

Even today, this playful history lesson continues to improve constantly, and the Cité Mémoire concept is obviously arousing international interest.

“People from all over the world, groups of Chinese, French and South American people want to have a Cité Mémoire in their homes. There are projects, ”said Michel Lemieux.

The documentary At the heart of Cité Mémoire will be available on Club illico this Thursday, November 26.

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