Camion: Keeping It Real

The award-winning new film from local director Rafaël Ouellet is an underrated, authentic portrait of personal tragedy and family dynamics in rural Quebec.

At times, it’s the smallest stories that are the most memorable. Rafaël Ouellet’s fourth film Camion falls gently into that category. Bordering on hyper-realism in execution, Ouellet’s film is a three-tiered narrative that captures rural life in Quebec, a man’s anguish, and the family dynamics that rise to the occasion in his time of need.

Julien Poulin, cast in a role diametrically opposed from his iconic turn as Elvis Gratton, is Germain, a seasoned, hardened truck driver who has spent half his life on the road delivering lumber from one city to another. A tragic work-related accident is the catalyst for Germain’s descent into bleak territory, as he stumbles through the guilt and blame that consumes him knowing that he (or his truck) robbed a life. No spoiler alert here — although the accident is the cause, the effect that reverberates into Germain’s life becomes one of hope, reconciliation and courage.

Faced with a darkness he has never known, Germain reaches out to his sons Samuel (Patrice Dubois) and Alain (Stéphane Breton) to help him through to the other side. In this, the story not only becomes about personal emotional strength post-tragedy, it sets the course for a family’s rebirth into acceptance and tolerance.

Despite the tone of death and emptiness that surrounds the film, Camion manages to rise above emotionally charged overtures due to its strong script written by Ouellet himself. With just the right amount of subtle humour infused into a taut environment, the beauty here is that the film remains understated and authentic, even in the most dramatic moments. ■

Camion opens Aug. 17.

Leave a Reply