With her “23. December,” which continues to be a box office hit after being the top Quebec film for 2022 with grossing more than $2 million, Miryam Bouchard has reason to celebrate. And through her cinematic memories, she also talks about romantic comedies…
Miryam, what is your earliest memory of going to a cinema?
It was at the Le Parisien cinema, I was 10 years old. My father [Reynald Bouchard] took me to Tchao Pantin with Coluche – my first adult film – which made me laugh a lot, and then I would see him in a really dramatic film. “Tchao Pantin” really stuck with me because anything that is on the order of “crying”, as Jean Lapointe said, touches me very strongly. It would also explain why I asked Patrick Huard to act in my first film “Mon cirque à moi”… There could be a connection between Patrick Huard and Coluche. It also gives me a different look at my father who was an actor, clown and street entertainer… it allowed me to understand the dark side of a creator. Since then I have never seen “Tchao Pantin” again, in order not to spoil my first contact with the film.
When you saw Tchao Pantin, did you know you wanted to make films?
I’ve never felt comfortable in front of the camera, I always knew I would be left behind and I never wanted to do another job.
A new film that has shaped you?
“New Quebec” by Sarah Fortin. And without any objectivity, because it’s my sister-in-law, who I love, who made this film! We discover the ghost town of Schefferville and the characters of Christine Beaulieu and Jean-Sébastien Courchesne come into contact with the reality of the local Aboriginal people. It’s a wonderful movie!
Your iconic romantic comedy?
“When Harry Met Sally”. I have a mad love for Nora Ephron. For me, she is an exemplary career woman who has found her voice and who is listened to. […] I think there’s something soothing about watching a romantic comedy, it’s satisfying for the viewer, it’s satisfying in the end. It allows us to laugh, to cry. It’s a genre that allows for different emotional moments. […] The romantic comedy was once more aimed at women. In recent years, the romantic comedy has been for everyone. Since The Good Side of Things we’ve taken on unusual themes and tended to modernize romantic comedy and we’re able to present strong female characters who are more like us.
Your first “kick” in the cinema?
Robert Redford in Our Best Years, Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson, Robert Redford in The Electric Rider… I could add Brad Pitt, but only because he got to play Robert Redford’s son.
The first film you saw alone in the cinema?
Between two lessons, I watched Jane Campion’s Le piano. It totally shocked me, blew me away. The soundtrack… 30 years ago, without the internet, I was looking for a mentor, a director who could inspire me upwards. The process was complex at the time. I left the cinema … the snow … when I left, my coat made the same movement as the heroine’s dress. I felt carried away by the film. I didn’t want to talk, I wanted to stay in this bubble.
If anything were possible, a dead or alive director that you would like to invite to the cinema? And what would you see?
My father, who died a few years ago, was outstanding. I would invite Charlie Chaplin over and we would see “Christmas and Juliet” in which he starred. My father plays the character of Noël, a clown, and I want Chaplin to see how much his work has influenced several generations.