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Get in the Mood: What to Read and Watch Before Going to Quebec

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Are you planning to visit Quebec soon? To help you get started, here are some series, novels and movies set in Quebec that focus on the province’s diverse population, vast territory and beautiful languages. Welcome to Canada!

1981, 1987 and 1991

The comedy trilogy 1981, 1987 and 1991 takes you back to Quebec in the 80s. Based on the personal story of director Ricardo Trogi, we follow the teenager’s arrival in the suburbs of Quebec City, his love affairs, his friendships and his transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Inuktitut by Elisapie

Inuk singer-songwriter Elisapie is a key figure on the Canadian cultural scene. Originally from Salluit, a village in Nunavik accessible only by plane, her unconditional attachment to her territory and her mother tongue is at the heart of her creative journey.

Her fourth opus, Inuktitut, is a real nugget. It features ten rock and pop classics from the ’60s to the ’90s, translated and performed in Inuktitut. The songs include hits by Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Queen, Blondie and Pink Floyd.

Heartbeats

Filmed in the forested region of Lotbinière and then in Montreal, Xavier Dolan’s Heartbeats takes us into the urban student world where a love trio unexpectedly forms between Francis, Marie and Nicolas. Definitely one of the bolder choices for a movie set in Quebec with an internationally acclaimed director.

Anthony Bourdain : Parts Unknown Montreal

The famous gourmet visits the Belle-Province, in particular Quebec City and Montreal. This is where he gets to meet the cooks he loves the most, and where he gets to share his haunts.

C.R.A.Z.Y

C.R.A.Z.Y. takes you on a journey into the heart of Quebec from the 60s to the 80s through the eyes of the late director Jean-Marc Vallée. We follow Zachary, one of them, as he struggles to come to terms with his homosexuality, which complicates his relationship with his homophobic father. The film beautifully captures the great musical classics and exploded fashion looks of each era, but above all, the power of the father-son relationship and the importance of self-fulfillment.

Incendies

A true saga set between Montreal and Lebanon, Incendies is a family story adapted from Wajdi Mouawad’s play of the same name, set in the midst of the Middle East crisis. After the death of their mother, Simon and Jeanne embark on a quest that takes them to Lebanon in search of their father and another brother. A disturbing masterpiece from director Denis Villeneuve.

Seducing Doctor Lewis

Fall under the spell of Sainte-Marie-La-Mauderne, a small fishing village inhabited by old islanders whose lives are a little too monotonous for their own good. With the arrival of a new, prestigious trading company on the horizon, Germain takes matters into his own hands to satisfy the company’s requirement: a doctor on the island. What ensues is a mad game of seduction that will change the fate of this endearing community in Ken Scott’s sympathetic comedy.

Paul at Home

Michel Rabagliati has clinched two prestigious Doug Wright Awards for Best Book and a Harvey Award, marking his indelible impact on the graphic novel landscape. Since bursting onto the scene in 1999, Rabagliati has brought to life the adventures of the beloved character Paul, set against the vibrant backdrop of Montreal. Paul at Home stands out as a touching narrative that delves into the evolving dynamics between parents and children across the span of a lifetime. This profoundly touching tale of coming into older age addresses complex themes such as divorce, empty nest, and chronic pain, all while maintaining heartfelt intimacy and a dash of self-deprecating wit.

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

The classic Canadian film, adapted from Mordechai Richler’s novel, provides a dramatic and sometimes comedic exploration of life in Quebec, focusing on the ambitious Duddy Kravitz, played by Richard Dreyfuss. Duddy is a young Jewish Montrealer, driven by a desire for respect and wealth, which leads him on a journey filled with get-rich-quick schemes. This character’s relentless drive and the exploration of socio-cultural themes make it an essential watch for anyone seeking an in-depth view of Quebec’s setting and societal dynamics during the period.

The Nature of Love

Winner of the recent César for Best Foreign Film, this movie set in Quebec is the work of the ambitious director Monia Chokri. It tells the story of the comfortable life of a university student named Sophia. Her life is turned upside down when she meets Sylvain, a workman who is in charge of the renovation of the family’s summer house. Shot on location on the shores of Lake Macdonald, the setting is an invitation for romance and social reflection between two people with very different realities. Part drama, part social studies, and part comedy, this film leaves no stone unturned.

Maurice Richard

It is hard to have a conversation about Quebec without mention of its national sport: hockey. Famous player Maurice Richard, nicknamed “The Rocket,” played for the Montreal team between 1942 and 1960; he retired in 1960 as the National Hockey League’s all-time leading scorer with 544 goals. He was the first non-politician to be honored by the province of Quebec with a state funeral.

Director Charles Binamé recounts how The Rocket’s contribution to the team enabled it to win eight Stanley Cups, making him an icon of the French-speaking world and of hockey. Also a must-read is the short story Hockey Sweater.

Ru

Quebec’s cultural richness is due in part to the many immigrants who have populated its regions at different times in its history. Ru tells the true story of writer Kim Thúy and her family, who arrive in Drummondville as refugees from Vietnam. Faced with the challenge of the language and the inevitable culture shock, they begin a new life in an unfamiliar environment. A new movie set in Quebec by director Charles-Olivier Michaud.

Can You Hear Me?

Three Montreal friends with endearing personalities share their difficult daily lives, and friendship is at the heart of this series. From their interpersonal relationships to their professional challenges, they rely on each other for survival in an underprivileged part of the city.

Kukum

Take a journey into the history of Quebec’s aboriginal peoples with this moving novel by Michel Jean. You’ll discover the story of Almanda Siméon, who shares the life of the Pekuakami Innu and discovers more about nomadism, language, values, and especially the reality of the native women today.

Suzanne

This novel-documentary follows the quest of its author, Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, as she traces the mysterious life of her maternal grandmother, Suzanne. Before raising a family and disappearing without a word, Suzanne allegedly stood alongside Borduas, Gauvreau and Riopelle to sign Refus Global, Quebec’s landmark independence manifesto.

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts

Joe Beef’s debut cookbook showcases over 125 recipes blending traditional French cuisine with a unique twist, featuring the restaurant’s classics like Spaghetti Homard-Lobster and innovative dishes such as a Scandinavian Smorgasbord with thirty toppings. Co-owners/chefs David McMillan and Frédéric Morin enrich this collection with lively anecdotes and illustrations, from gangsters to Canadian railroad dining, making it a modern guide to culinary excellence with a nod to nostalgia.

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

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