Becoming a father awakened in Anh Minh Truong emotions similar to those experienced by the end of high school and saying goodbye to his hometown, Sherbrooke, to study in Montreal. He then found that these great vertigos occur at several stages of life. “That’s when I wanted to bring together the destinies of three characters who are going through a kind of coming of age, but at different ages,” he explains.
This is how the stories of Michel (Pierre Verville), who is retiring, Steve (Jean-Moïse Martin), who is expecting his first child, and Louis (Matai Stevens), who is finishing high school, found themselves in rub shoulders in a film that takes place over one night. “In Des hommes, la nuit, la nuit is a cocoon from which the protagonists emerge to become someone else the next day”, illustrates the director, for whom the night has an undeniable poetic character.
When Pierre Verville read Anh Minh Truong’s screenplay, he was immediately charmed by the enigmatic character of Michel. “My job is impersonator. And occasionally I play. Not often, only when I feel something strong and I feel like I can contribute something,” he says, adding that the director’s vision was exactly in line with his style.
And that’s good, because the filmmaker knows that the strength of a film is often found in the smallest details. “Cinema for me is taking the time to dig into the form and the acting and then ensuring the combination of the two,” he explains.
Men, the night is a project that has been simmering for 10 years. From idea to broadcast, Anh Minh Truong brought her feature film to fruition with dedication. When his screenplay landed on the shelves of a Montreal-area production house in 2019 due to lack of funding, the filmmaker really thought it was dead. “I even considered making a novel or a comic out of it,” says the one who comes from a visual arts background.
It was finally Chasseurs films, a Sherbrooke production company, which took the film under its wing, at very little cost. “Véronique Vigneault [the executive producer] moved mountains for this film,” insists Anh Minh Truong. Then director of the Bureau estrien de l’audiovisuel et du multimedia (BEAM), she wanted at all costs to make a film in the region to highlight local artisans and stimulate the industry.
One of Anh Minh Truong’s other great prides is the entirely Quebec soundtrack of Des hommes la nuit. Behind this victory, among others, the musician and director Pierre-Philippe Côté, alias Pilou, an important player in the cultural development of Estrie1.
Not only did the latter compose the original music that accompanies the film, but he also gave everything to contact the artists who signed the various songs that Anh Minh Truong imagined to accompany his film. Even if it is naturally that the soundtrack turned out to be 100% Quebec and French-speaking, it became an assumed choice of the director, even a battle. “I would have had a turd on my heart if it had remained an English song. I’ve come to really care about that statement,” he laughs.