The Seal of the Confessional: Robert Lepage’s Le Confessionnal in Social and Cultural Context

  • Author(s): Adele Reinhartz
  • When: 2016-01
  • Where: Journal of Religion & Film
  • The Quiet Revolution brought an end to Catholic hegemony in Québec culture and society. Despite the Church’s fall from power, Catholicism did not disappear from Québec society after the Quiet Revolution. The continued importance of Catholicism in conjunction with the dramatic shift to secular institutions and values creates a palpable tension in Québec public and private life. One film that explores this tension explicitly is the 1995 drama, Le Confessionnal. The film was written and directed by Robert Lepage, one of Québec’s, and Canada’s, most versatile artists. This article explores the primary existential theme -- the relationship between the Catholic past (1952) and the secular present (1989) – by examining plot, character, and symbolism, particularly the use of color. Just as the main characters cannot escape their family history, so too, the film implies, must Québec come to terms with its past, within which the Catholic Church played such an important role.

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