Michel Langlois

Lives in
Montreal , QC
Quebec CA

Director, scriptwriter, professor. Not the most prolific nor most explicit presence in the Quebec queer film scene, Langlois’s films will be among its enduring legacies. First making his mark as co-scriptwriter with such auteurs as Jacques Leduc and Léa Pool, his scripts sometimes registered queer nuances and characters, as in Pool’s homosocial dream La femme de l’hôtel (1984, 89), more often not, exploring instead general themes of aging, mortality, relationships and psychological torment. Such was the case with his first feature Cap Tourmente (1993, 115), a melodrama a rural family agonizing over its secrets, in which a mysterious stranger played by heartthrob Roy Dupuis fucks [with] everyone in the family including the son, and delivers the obligatory nude scenes.

However, Langlois’s most unforgettable queer contributions are three exquisitely rendered non-feature films. The prize-winning Sortie 234 (Exit 234, 1988, 25) was a rural bisexual triangle narrative. When I programmed in Toronto in 1989 this short first film showcasing a scriptwriter and a young actor unknown outside of Quebec, I showed no restraint:
"Full blown archetypal narrative at its most dreamily gorgeous. James Dean finally tells Robert Mitchum he's in love with him and Dorothy Malone lights another cigarette.... Langlois... is a filmmaker to watch out for if not to die for." Sortie 234 remains as ravishing as it was in 1988 and not only because it featured Dupuis in his first screen role (and best gay role) as the conflicted country boy in love with his best friend who ultimately has to take Exit 234 for the big city. Langlois wove flickers of Jean Genet’s Chant d’amour into his fierce love story as well as dialogue worthy of Casablanca.

Lettre à mon père (1992) was a poetic autobiographical coming out essay, addressed to the filmmaker’s dead father. Le fil cassé (The Broken Thread, NFB, 2002, see R of T, ch. 6) continued in this vein with its moving reflection on genealogy and the continuity the author has interrupted as a childless gay man. Langlois has taught at Montreal’s Institut de l’image et du son since 1996.