March 28, 2018 7:00 pm
OPIRG Guelph and the Guelph and Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination present a screening and discussion of the film MANOR.
Free – physically accessible – popcorn – all welcome!
The old Gaulin Manor, that since 1990 has hosted former patients of the psychiatric hospital in Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, is in its last days. About thirty souls live in this otherworldly establishment, filled with a contagious sadness. This alternative lodging space, 60 km from Montreal, proved to be their salvation after the wave of deinstitutionalization that one day threw them into the streets with no resources or medical care. Profit rules all, and so this motel at the world’s end will soon be destroyed to fill the pockets of promoters. Needless to say, the lives of these residents, already heavily taxed, will never be the same. MANOR, by Martin Fournier et Pier-Luc Latulippe, captures this turning of the page, where each lost character reshuffles their daily life in moving on to the next chapter.
Shot over a long period of time with a small team, MANOR sets off to discover this unique place and its residents, struggling with drug addiction and various mental illnesses. Marginalized and left behind by their families, they all live in profound isolation, all the while receiving short- or long-term treatment, as rare as it is essential. There is Paul, haunted by the painful loss of his youthful love, who constantly hears voices; the mischievous Gilles, who rose to fame in the United States as a race car driver and today has lost everything; Nathalie, a boarder of native descent, who suffered the violence of men, but nonetheless shows generosity towards life and her surroundings; Philippe, the joyful joker, who keeps to himself, with a permanent smile on his lips; Johnny, the man with the golden voice, who missed out on his dreams of becoming a singer like his idol Elvis; and finally Michel, the Manor’s own music lover and philosopher, who finds refuge from depression in art and alcohol. Through thick and thin, these lost souls stick together through the sweetness and the pain of time passing by. With an eye to the little details, the film follows the path of these genuine beings of fragile identity who have a rich life history. Together, they create the soul of a place revealed to the camera through small sensitive touches.
This documentary turns a clear and uncompromising eye at a marginalized fringe of reality that our society would rather pretend isn’t there. A subtle examination of how the common good is too often sacrificed on behalf of grand economic principles without regard for the human factor. With a double-purpose, MANOR proposes at once to journey towards the unknown and invites us to acknowledge the well-meaning humanity of these exiles who reveal themselves on the screen. In unveiling without exaggeration a rough reality of rugged twists and turns, where fragile beings cling to their memories and dreams, the film alights in the sharing of many moments of intimacy and solidarity. Lending an ear to these forgotten outcasts, abstaining from all judgement, MANOR is careful in framing these shadowy figures, bringing them to life in the light of our attention.