May 17, 2017 – Montreal – The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and the Pointe-à-Callière Montréal Archaeology and History Complex are pleased to be launching a new immersive experience today called Un jour sur le pont Franchère (A Day on the Franchère Bridge). Conceived and directed by Philippe Baylaucq, with contributions from animation filmmaker Claude Cloutier, creative producer Jean-Marie Comeau, and NFB executive producer René Chénier, this hybrid work will be presented over the next decade in Pointe-à-Callière and is launching as part of the inauguration of the Fort de Ville-Marie – Pavillon Québecor, a heritage legacy celebrating Montreal’s 375th anniversary.
The Franchère Bridge was Montreal’s first stone bridge, spanning the Little Saint-Pierre River. Once flowing past Fort Ville-Marie, the river was later covered and canalized, turning it into a vaulted collector sewer. Un jour sur le pont Franchère re-creates the bridge to scale, using this historic setting as a backdrop. Visitors will experience the pulse of the city in the early 19th century, witnessing an accelerated version of the rhythms of a September day, as holographic video projection shows residents of the period going about their daily lives as they use the bridge. This immersive experience combines elements of architecture, sculpture, and cinema. The interplay of images, light, and reflections creates a dream-like, poetic work, and brings back to life a magnificent structure whose vestiges remain beneath Place D’Youville. Jean-Marie Comeau drew the bridge with input from Ethnoscop and Pointe-à-Callière archaeologists, while Claude Cloutier created a thousand drawings based on footage of 80 people in period costumes, putting a human face on this historical era.
“This project is the result of an exemplary partnership between teams of scientists, creators and artisans at the NFB and Pointe-à-Callière, who pooled their talents to produce a work that gives members of the public the opportunity to relive a day at the Franchère Bridge,” said Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson. “This collaboration reflects the NFB’s drive to create innovative works for new audiences in public spaces where they may not expect to find them—like a historic collector sewer. We applaud the boldness and vision of Ms. Francine Lelièvre, executive director of Pointe-à-Callière, and her team.”
Un jour sur le pont Franchère can be seen at Pointe-à-Callière, 350 Place Royale, Montreal.
For the NFB