At the turn of the 20th century, Victoire Du Sault, founder of a shoe repair shop that would be the source of the Dufresne family fortune, was torn because of an impossible love, which would force her to carry the weight of her life. ‘a secret.
Recognized thanks to films like Histoires d’hiver and Paul à Québec, François Bouvier has cast his sensitive gaze on two pioneers of Quebec. Five years after La Bolduc, here is La Cordonnière, a biographical drama that brings to life the story of Victoire Du Sault, an entrepreneur who, at the beginning of the last century, founded a shoe company that shone throughout the outside our borders.
The scenario that Sylvain Guy (Confessions, Mégantic) drew from the first volumes of Pauline Gill’s series of novels remains faithful to the heroine’s professional life in terms of facts, but explores more of the latter’s love life, more unknown. The history of Victoire Du Sault being relatively undocumented, the craftsmen were thus able to interfere in a space where romantic impulses have free rein. The main issue of La Cordonnière thus revolves around the choices that a woman of that time had to make, torn between a love of passion and a love of reason.
For young Victoire (Rose-Marie Perreault), the face of forbidden passion first borrows that of Georges-Noël Dufresne (Pierre-Yves Cardinal), a neighbor 20 years her senior, married, for whom attraction is reciprocal. That of reason will borrow that of Thomas (Nicolas Fontaine), the son of Georges-Noël, with whom Victoire will start a family. Thanks to a delicate and attentive staging, François Bouvier manages to perfectly convey the painful thrill – experienced in silence – that Victoire and Georges-Noël experience as soon as they find themselves together in the same space.
Borrowing a very classic narrative form, the story is narrated by the heroine herself in her oldest days (Élise Guilbault then slips into Victoire’s skin), at a time when she wants to reveal to her son a secret that won’t surprise anyone.
With such an exceptional destiny, it would undoubtedly have been interesting to better develop the professional aspect of the life of a woman who had to fight against all odds to exercise a profession hitherto reserved for men. Of course, we echo the strength of character of a young woman whose persistence is admirable, but the radiance of this achievement, which has ensured that her shoes have been sold in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, is practically passed over in silence. As if the remarkable feat of this pioneer in this regard had no impact on her life.
The four main actors offer vibrant compositions (especially Rose-Marie Perreault in the role of Victoire), the period reconstruction is impeccable and the whole is good in all respects, but since the story focuses only on the sentimental life of the heroine is a bit like missing a chapter in her story.