Gilles CarleCanada115 minutes1972ColourFrench
Gilles Carle's absurd, trenchant allegory, about a disgruntled housewife's ill-fated attempt to go "back to the land," is recognized as one of the greatest Québécois films of the 1970s.
Gilles Carle had already established himself as one of the most successful Québécois filmmakers with The Merry World of Leopold Z, the province's first homegrown box-office hit of the 1960s, but this absurd, trenchant allegory announced him as a true artist. Acidly commenting on the hippie-derived back-to-the-land movement, La Vraie nature de Bernadette opens as the title character, a disgruntled housewife (the legendary actress and filmmaker Micheline Lanctôt), leaves her husband and the city behind and, with her child in tow, heads out to experience the simpler, purer pleasures of country life. In short order, she winds up prostituting herself to old men in order to live, all the while arguing that the country is naturally pure and that she's made the right decision. Nearly 50 years after its premiere, La Vraie nature de Bernadette retains its capacity to shock, disturb, and amuse.