Polytechnique


On December 6th 1989, misogynic sick fuck Marc Lépine enters the renowned École Polytechnique de Montréal concealing a semi-automatic weapon and enough ammo to create the most odious tragedy in the history of this province. A snowstorm rages over the city as hundreds of students are getting ready for the dreaded finals just a few days away.

Blaming feminists and women in general for basically all of the world's problems, on a day that will forever live in infamy he decided to act. Claiming that women had no place in various engineering programs that should be reserved to men, he enters a classroom and at gunpoint orders the male students to step to one side and the young ladies to the other. After seperating the class, he asks the men and the teacher to leave the room. Alone with the female students, he executes them summarily.

Lépine then went on a rampage, randomly shooting on every woman that crossed his path. In the end, he killed fourteen of them and wounded many others before commiting suicide.

A movie chronicling the events of that infamous day has just been released. Nearly two decades later, emotional and psychological scars are such that protest groups are exhorting people not to go see the movie. The Polytechnique tragedy acted as a rude awakening for our society. These things COULD NOT happen in Montréal or anywhere else in Québec. Caught in the throes of a variety of far-left socialist governments for decades, with the press and the rest of the media controlled by the "go-gauche," French Canadians or Québecois seemed to believe that we were all good people in this province. Sure, we had the bikers and the Italian mafia. But other than that, we were the nicest people in the world. Don't you know that the sun rises and sets on this province? Of course not! Not if you're a stupid American. Or worse, someone from Toronto. Our society was safe in its cocoon. Crazy shooters killing people were only seen on the evening news, always from the USA. This could never happen here, not with our gun control laws. I mean, going through some paperwork is an unbreachable obstacle to any would-be ill-intentioned person who would like to purchase a firearm.

Too bad it took a madman shooting on every woman he laid eyes on to open our collective eyes. The horrible killings laid bare a number of truths that were hard to swallow. We realized how woefully unprepared all the police corps (municipal, provincial, and federal) were to face such a crisis. We realized how the authorities had no emergency plan to face something of this magnitude. But most of all, our cocoon was shattered forever. Suddenly, there were bad people in Québec. Not an anglophone or an immigrant, but a Québécois. That was beyond belief. . .

Voxpops indicate that many people won't go see the movie Polytechnique, while others vow that it must be seen. As a society, we must come face to face with these atrocities if we are to move forward. Trying to sweep the problems and the memories under the rug will achieve nothing.

So I went to see it last night. It's a troubling, touching, and emotional movie. Shot entirely in black and white, Polytechnique features a subtle soundtrack in the background. Conscious of the problematic, director Denis Villeneuve kept the violence to a minimum. Not to downplay what occurred on that dreadful December day, but because there is no point in trying to turn this into a sensationalist flick.

I would compare the experience of watching the movie with visiting Auschwitz. Not easy to go through, but necessary. To understand what happened. The movie is perfect in that way. They stick to the facts, though most of the events are seen through the eyes of two fictitious characters. It's powerful yet humbling. And yes, it makes you feel bad to be a guy. As it should be. . .

The Polytechnique tragedy raised a panoply of questions regarding the place of women in our society. And though things have moved forward in the last few decades, true equality appears to be far away everywhere in the Western world.

Far be it from me to wish to start philosophical and social debates on the Hotlist, but I encourage everyone to go see this movie if they get the chance. Polytechnique will likely be showcased in various film festivals around the world, so the opportunity will be there.

Though disturbing, it will make you think. That's reason enough to go see it. . .

5 commentaires:

Gearóid said...

I'm sad to to say, I don't remember this horrible event, despite being old enough to have heard it reported.

I don't understand the people saying not to be see it. Like you say, these problems still exist the world over, be it misogyny in this case, or some other perceived slight or bigotry in other locations. If the subject is approached with sensitivity (to the victims) then movies like this can serve as an eye-opener. It is still all too easy to dismiss these as isolated occurrences "that couldn't possibly happen here".

There was only recently a similar outrage here in New Zealand about a film called "Out of the Blue" which was about a massacre in a tiny settlement called Aramoana
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_of_the_Blue_(2006_film).

Cheers for the heads up on this movie Pat. I'll keep an eye out for it at the film festivals here.

Jebus said...

Films like this NEED to be made. The kind of schlock that Hollywood produces and terms as horror is just torture porn. Films like this, Out of the Blue and Elephant are well made and really show just what the human head is capable of and tries to make sense of a senseless act.

Out of the Blue is a fantastically tense and gritty film, I could barley blink during its whole length. I attend the Melbourne International Film Festival every year and I hope Polytechnique is on the list as I believe it will be an important film to see.

I wonder if they'll ever make a film of the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania? Or the Virginia Tech shootings? Probably too soon to be doing things like that, but films help us to explore these events ina hopefully cathartic release.

Patrick said...

You can see the English trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EM9r83Dv2A

Dream Girlzzz said...

Saw it and I was troubled by the flick. I agree that everyone should see it. It really hits you hard because it feels like a documentary. We see people getting killed in movies every day and we don't feel a thing. But I was flinching every time Lépine fired on someone.

it's the kind of movie where eveyrone files out of the theater in silence afterward. Women were crying at the end.

Very hard, very powerful movie.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see it. I remember the day well. At the time I was actually an Engineering student myself (though I got out of that career path fairly quickly), and I remember the pall that fell over the student residence. It reminded me of how it felt the morning (in Gr. 4 or so) when I heard John Lennon was murdered. Such senseless crimes!