un long fil d images



L'usure (By Attrition)
1986 - 8 min. - fiction - shot in Super 8 posted in 16mm
French with English subtitles

A desert street, two girls: Jo is there to break up with
her lover. Lou doesn't want to.
An urban lesbian western where sharp words
replace gun shots.

with Isabelle Miquelon and Marie-Hélène Montpetit


Before undertaking our second year of university dedicated to 16mm film, Stéphan Fortin and I wanted to start by confronting the difficulties of shooting in Super 8. From the first days of September, we had gathered friends together to shoot this short film. I woke up one morning with the whole script in my head: a spaghetti western with no guns. I called my two childhood friends who had studied theatre and offered them the text. They accepted. The Programme d’Aide aux Jeunes Créateurs didn’t yet exist, so I wrote, naively, to a handful of company directors to ask them for a little money to pay for the equipment and film. Only Pierre Péladeau replied (probably because he had been a friend of my father’s in their youth). I never knew whether or not he’d read the script, but he sent us a cheque for $150, which was used for the wrap party.
My only disappointment about this shoot was not having been able to integrate the close-ups of the girls’ eyes. We wanted to film them like those of Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson: that is, menacing.

We’d forgotten that these kinds of westerns were shot in 1.85, or Cinemascope.
The square format of Super 8 gave us an effect that was              far less interesting...

format Super 8

I would like to pay tribute here to Diane Jutras, the camerawoman. One day, after five hours spent under the blimp with her eye stuck to the camera, shooting wonderful and very steady 360 degree pans, she asked, very kindly, if we could take “a little break and have a little something to eat.” Her wan face as it emerged from under the cover was so eloquent that it served as a lesson to me for the rest of my life: never to trust in my own adrenaline level, and to think of the crew.

Thanks to Barbara Jane and Studio D at the NFB, we finished the film in 16mm and thus obtained proper distribution.

L'usure carte
Marie-Hélène Montpetit
                              dans L'usure
Isabelle Miquelon dans L'usure

LU play

awards and press:

Grand Prize, Film category, Quebec competition and
Best Actor Award Union des Artistes to Marie-Hélène Montpetit
Festival du Jeune Cinéma de Montréal, March 1987

«In the Quebec section, another obvious choice: By Attrition, by Jeanne  Crépeau and Stéphan Fortin. The precision of its dialogues, its technical quality, its pursuit of a truly cinematic form, and very convincing performances by both actresses, all contrbute in making this short film an excellent filmmaking debut.»
Michel Beauchamp in Le Matin


Jo (the blonde)
Isabelle Miquelon

Lou (the brunette)
Marie-Hélène Montpetit

screenplay and director
Jeanne Crépeau

director of photography
Stéphan Fortin

Diane Jutras

camera assistant
Chantal Neveu

Richard Lavoie

Cyr-Marc Débien

location manager
Maurice Van Themsche

Sylvie Lamarre

costumes and sets
Giannina Gouin

make up
Cristina Gouin

shooting stills
Louise Oligny

production assistants
Daniel Bruneau, Josée Cardinal
André Goulet, Marc Langlois
Suzanne Lebrun, Robert Préfontaine
and Robert Tremblay

video images
Maurice Van Themsche

Jeanne Crépeau and
Stéphane Fortin

sound design
Serge Lafortune

Sylvain Fréchette

Cristina Gouin

thanks to
Maryse and Jean-Pierre
Shawn and Serge
Edouardo and Nathalie
Alain and Daniel
Igor and Denis
Marie-Lise and Michel
Myriam and Philippe
Jean-Claude and Johanne
Diane and Jean.

thanks to Kim, Michel and Sylvaine
(not credited) Catherine and Carlos

This film could'nt have been done without the
personnal commitment of every cast and crew member
and the technical assistance of Studio D of the
National Film Board of Canada

production Hétérétrange et oclite 1985

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