Billie’s story, her sunburn, her first crush and her famous first time, is a little (a lot) hers. A few days before the arrival of Cœur de slush on the big screen, author and screenwriter Sarah-Maude Beauchesne has agreed to return with us to the scene of the crime.
Way of speaking, we get along. Let’s be clear, there is not a shadow of a crime in this account, except, of course, if one considers the consumption of a certain blue drink too sweet as a form of misdemeanor! That said, it would be to miss a very felt story, which breathes full nose adolescence, the quest for love and, ultimately, the quest for oneself. Blue raspberry slush included, we will have understood.
Sarah-Maude Beauchesne grew up in the Bromont area. As a bonus (coincidence?) she has just moved there for good, in a pretty house in Knowlton. If several scenes of the film, inspired by his novel and directed by Mariloup Wolfe, in theaters on June 16, were shot in Saint-Sauveur, it is here, in Estrie, that the author gave us an appointment, a sunny early morning in May, to look back on her own youth. Its 16 years old. His big questions.
From the Bromont water park to Saxby Road, which she walked morning and evening as a teenager to get to her job as a lifeguard, the author of Lèche-vitrines and Maxime (the sequel to Cœur de slush, written in her twenties, which we are also promised an adaptation soon), does not hide its “nostalgia” here.
“I realize that I was really lucky to go through all of this,” she says as she walks around the base of the slides, where she worked four summers long. “I had a cozy, creative, romantic teenage years! I had lots of friends, and the weather was always nice! “, she bursts out laughing, freckles in support, shared, it should be noted, by the young Liliane Skelly, who plays her Billie in the film, with whom the resemblance is striking. “I had the best parents, full of love, and the best job in the world!” » Notice to interested young people looking for a summer job…
Admittedly, not everything is cheerful in Cœur de slush either. There are also a lot of roller coasters. There are tears and real real sorrows. But also lots of laughs. “Yes, I had all the insecurities in the world, concedes the 33-year-old author, but like everyone else. And in a healthy and happy context! »
This joy, Sarah-Maude Beauchesne wanted to transpose it to the screen. “Yes, it’s a happy movie, it was important to me. The joy was very present at that time, just like when I was writing, as well as on the set! […] I wanted to make a realistic teenage film, but also full of hope, color and poetry. […] Yes, Billie asks herself a thousand questions […]. It’s a thankless time, but it’s also where you learn to love yourself. »
And that’s well said: because yes, there is joy, a cozy setting, but also a lot of truth in this story. Beyond the apparent lightness, Sarah-Maude Beauchesne has always had this concern for “authenticity”. A concern that is undoubtedly not unrelated to the success of his novel, published by Hurtubise in 2014 and sold no less than 30,000 copies (including a deluxe edition, with unpublished excerpts from the script and photos from the filming of the film, is in bookstores recently).
“When I was in my early adulthood, there was no work that spoke to desire and sexuality in an authentic way. Either it was trash or it was blue flower,” she recalls. Never realistic, what.
But she, she dared. Without filter. Because it’s a fact: Sarah-Maude Beauchesne was “disappointed” with her famous and long-awaited “first time”, and she asked herself the question: “But why does nobody talk about it like that?” […] Why doesn’t anyone talk about the very blurry line between desire and love? Me, I was just told: put on a condom. But we miss so many nuances! So me, when I was young and I was writing, I wanted to say exactly what I experienced to be sure that it was true. »
If the story (sent at the time to eight publishers before being finally accepted!) was adapted for the purposes of the film, Sarah-Maude Beauchesne still gave herself the “mission” to reach young people as much as ever. Even more than 10 years later, she points out, the themes remain exactly the same. Basically, “stop hating yourself, the importance of friends, and fun.” Above all: the fragile art of existing in the eyes of the other “when sometimes it’s uncomfortable, and sometimes it’s exhilarating”.
And Sarah-Maude Beauchesne did not hesitate in passing to insist even more heavily on certain points, particularly important in her eyes and which are still talked about too little: the social construction of virginity, feminism and, of course, the consent. Between two, three sips of you know what.