Photo by Bertrand
by Matthew Walls
Between the two documentaries, she made Mariages (2001), a feature
film about a young woman in 1930s Quebec who rebels against the stultifying
mores embodied by her older sister.
All of Martins films have won high praise from critics, beginning
with her directing debut in Nuits DAfrique, in 1990. After graduating
film school, she worked as an editor with well-known québécois
filmmakers like Jean Chabot, and it took her eight years before she realized
she could make a living directing her own films.
Martins success with the critics, however, has not yet turned into
box-office success. Mariages lasted a disappointing five weeks
at the movie theatre, and her documentaries had even shorter showings.
It might disappoint her, but she does not let it influence her filmmaking.
Catherine is one of those beacons of independent filmmakers. She
resists all the Hollywood facilities, all the razzle-dazzle. She has a
horror of that because they are purely commercial and they dont
give you time to think.
In Océan, we see the stations on the route, the staff,
and the townspeople who watch the train pass by. It opens with a VIA train
clunking over a bridge in Montreal, and continues for the next 10 minutes
with shots of the staff preparing the train, a scant number of passengers
stepping on board, cut with shots of empty train stations in the countryside,
where station masters wait silently with few to no customers.
Dialogue is sparse. Martin said she used fewer interviews than in her
previous documentary, because she wanted the images to speak for themselves.