Chloé Robichaud's Boundaries (2016) is exclusively showing July 31 – August 30, 2018 on MUBI in most countries in the world as part of the series Canada's Next Generation.
Politics use to be a men-only territory, but women are now sharing a piece of it. Statistics, however, show that there are still less women than men who chose the political path. It is this rarity that first drew me to these women characters. Furthermore, I was interested by the fact that women, taken by the heavy tasks inherent to the profession of mediator or politician, must revisit the classic family stereotype, only recently deconstructed. And it is precisely this deconstruction of pre-established ideals that challenges and interests me in my work.
The idea quickly imposed itself on me because of my interest for politics, and politicians. I must be gaining in maturity and I position myself more strongly as a woman, citizen and film director. The idea for the film evolved, just like me, over a development period of three years. The film concerns my reflections on our assertion as citizens, in a world in constant change. But most of all, it concerns our desire to emancipate beyond conventions.
Boundaries tackles notions proper to any territory, meaning its borders, resources, politics, citizens, laws and landscapes. The film aims at revealing that these same notions are at the heart of every being. The characters of the film are trying to understand their limits, their place, and their usefulness in their community. Each of our three characters work towards what they believe is the best for Besco. But inevitably, they also work on the development of their own identity.
Each of the three characters has a distinct personality, but they share a mutual inner strength. When I think about casting, I first let myself be inspired by the presence of the actors and actresses I meet. When I met Macha Grenon, I knew right away that I was facing an actress with an incredible emotional intelligence, that could easily compose a nuanced character. Emily Van Camp inspired me by her gentleness. As she would have to play a mediator, I felt she would naturally breath life into her reassuring and attentive character. Nathalie Doummar was a discovery, as this is her introduction to cinema. It is through the audition process that I was struck by her authenticity. Nathalie lets herself be carried by the moment in front of the camera, and it creates magical instants.
As the story is taking place on a fictional island, I had to find a place far from our collective imagination. It was the only way to realistically believe in the existence of Besco. I was charmed by Newfoundland; how its territory stretched, and what it brought to my mind. The bareness of the land in contrast with the spectacular landscapes, is very poetic.
I’ve known Jessica Lee Gagné, DOP, since I was seventeen years old, and I made my first cinematographic steps with her. We’ve learned and evolved together. As the years went by, we developed an incredible working bond. She is attentive to my style, but also pushes me further and unsettles me in a good way. We prepared for Boundaries as we usually do, with great care. The look of the film was created as we discussed and read the various versions of the script, and as we watched films and photographs. We made the most out of our scouting trips in Newfoundland by testing frames and compositions, and to immerse ourselves in our imaginary country.
I also had to immerse myself in research concerning politics, mining and mediation, to make sure the script was realistic. I read a lot, met with politicians, political attachés, press attachés, essayists... I wanted to have a deep understanding of my characters, and my country’s reality.
I also had inspiring meetings with mediators in Quebec and Europe. They opened my eyes on the details of their work, professionally but even more so, emotionally. They helped me solidify Emily’s character in their reality.
I hope the audience will have fun in front of the show that is Boundaries, because it has been thought as cinematographic show. And at the same time, I would be pleased if the audience was slightly unsettled by the reflections that the film leaves him.