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     INFOBOX: C’etait le 12 du 12 et Chili…


Charles Binamé



José Fréchette


Louise Gendron, Josée Mauffette


2.56 M


Montréal / Saint-Constant, Québec, Canada




Roy Dupuis, Lucie Laurier, Julie Deslauriers


Alliance Viva Films


Drama / Romance


100 minutes

Release Date

September 9th, 1994





C’était le 12 du 12 et Chili avait les blues - an offbeat title for a quirky little Quebecois offering which sees Roy Dupuis in a leading role, and is a wordy but very rewarding film.


This particular 12th December belongs to 1963 (3 weeks after Kennedy’s assassination), on a night when the railway station is gradually filling up with an assortment of weird people as the trains are delayed due to bad weather. Vacuum cleaner salesman Pierre-Paul (Roy) discovers the shadowy figure of a young girl in the gents’ toilet trying to commit suicide; when he returns with help she has disappeared into the anonymity of her school group. He is frustrated in his attempts to seek her out because everyone treats him like a pervert, but eventually Chili owns up to him. With value systems surviving intact from his Boy Scout days, Pierre-Paul feels duty bound to console her during the long hours of waiting. Well-meaning and uncomplicated, he is superbly ill-equipped for the ride on Chili’s emotional seesaw, and her personal agonising over global tragedies like "all human cruelty", thalidomide, and the Singing Nun being in the Hit Parade. Her idiosyncratic slant on the world has him constantly baffled and wrong-footed, but in the privacy of a storeroom they gradually develop an affection for each other, and even manage finally to uncover Pierre-Paul’s well concealed sense of humour.


Interwoven with this plot-line are glimpses into the lives of the other passengers and staff, which provide a wealth of humorous interchanges. The dialogue is alternately ridiculous and thought-provoking, and allows all the supporting characters a chance to display their bizarre personalities. The station master gives a particularly witty performance, and the studies of Chili’s convent school-mates are a potent demonstration of the disagreeable by-products of mixing privilege, education and pubescence.


This is a whimsical period piece peppered with references to sixties’ culture, and punctuated by the US chart singles of the time, courtesy of the station juke box. Roy’s film work is notable for the diversity of his roles, and here, uniquely, he plays a deeply uncool, anal character, the sort of man who marks maturity by adopting his father’s fashion sense. His short-back-and-sides and one-size-too-small hat give him a faintly ridiculous appearance, but he is so earnest and persevering that your sympathies lie firmly with him throughout. If you admire Roy’s acting abilities and not just his drop-dead-gorgeous looks, you will not be disappointed by this film.



(Version viewed was in French, with English subtitles. 1hr 56 mins)



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