fig. a: Kamouraska style
You might remember a couple of posts having to do with Kamouraska, that fabled region of the Bas-Saint-Laurent, that we posted back in 2012. One having to do with a late-summer weekend getaway? The other having to do with eel hunting in early autumn? Not ringing any bells? Suffering from a case of memory loss? Well, you can get reacquainted with our adventures here and here.
In any case, both trips were long-awaited pilgrimages of a sort--pilgrimages to la Société des plantes to visit our friend and permaculture hero, Patrice Fortier, who's been a recurring character in the pages of "...an endless banquet" since 2004 (!).
For years, we talked about going out to visit Fortier in the height of season to see the gardens of la Société des plantes in full bloom. For years, we never made it out there, and had to rely on Patrice's occasional visits to Montreal to sell his phenomenal produce (first, in a series of guerrilla-style street sales; then in a number of different venues, from bike stores to wine importation houses; and, finally, directly to restaurants like Toqué and the Foodlab) and to pay social calls to sustain and nourish our relationship. But now that we've gotten un p'tit goût de Kamou, we're hooked.
The physical splendour of Kamouraska is already something to behold. And the same goes for the poetry, the abundance, and the passion of la Société des plantes. But it's the spirit of the region that really makes it magical, and la Société des plantes--as a place, as a developing project, and as a labour of love--truly is a perfect embodiment of that spirit.
figs. b & c: permaculture
It's hard to fully capture the splendour of Kamouraska in words and photos. And it can be equally challenging to fully express the beauty of la Société des plantes. But, lucky for you, now there's a film about Patrice and la Société des plantes that does a fantastic job of doing both. It's called Le Semeur (a.k.a., The Sower), it was directed by Julie Perron, it's received acclaimed at les Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM), the Berlin Film Festival, and, most recently, the DOXA festival in Vancouver and Hot Docs in Toronto, and it's playing at Cinéma eXcentris here in Montreal this week.*
fig. d: Le Semeur
And we're maybe a little biased (after all, not only are we good friends with Patrice, but we just happened to chance upon the shooting of one of the film's principal scenes on our first visit, so we have a bit of a history with Le Semeur), but it truly is a beautiful film, one that wisely kept the focus primarily on Kamouraska, one that really provided a lot of space for Patrice's irrepressible personality to shine, and one that fully grasped the artisanal, artistic, and folkloric aspects of the project, as well as the dedication that's made it all possible.
fig. e: the art of food
Want to get a sense of what Le Semeur looks, sounds, and feels like? You can check out the trailer here.
Want to order some of Patrice's heirloom seeds? You can find them online here.
Bon cinéma et bonne dégustation!
* French only. There is a subtitled, English-language version, however. If that version gets released here in Montreal, we'll let you know.
Monday, May 12, 2014
fig. a: Kamouraska style