July 2, 2022

Death of Jean-Marc Vallée | “Jean-Marc still had a lot of films in his stomach”

“As far back as I can remember, I’ve always hated Christmas! “It is the knotted throat that Michel Côté remembered Monday morning the first line of the film C. R. A. Z. Y.

Dominic Tardif

Dominic Tardif

A sentence whose memory hurt him particularly, in light of the news of the departure of his friend Jean-Marc Vallée, who died on December 25. “He was an extremely generous, extremely sensitive being, who loved life, who loved his two sons unconditionally. An incomparable talent ”, confided the one who collaborated for the first time with the director on the set of Blacklist (1995), before finding it on that of C. R. A. Z. Y. (2005), film of the international revelation for Vallée.

It is especially for Michel Côté that the filmmaker had thought of this role of father to which it was impossible not to attach oneself, but who refused to accept the homosexuality of his son. “I had the role so much in my veins that I had the impression of not playing, but Jean-Marc kept telling me all the time:” Don’t change anything, it’s great, you’ll see what it will turn out to be. . It is a film that I have felt right down to the depths of my soul. ”


Michel Côté during the shooting of the film C. R. A. Z. Y.

There are directors on a set who say to the actors: “Everything is fine. I’ll let you know when it’s not good. »Whereas Jean-Marc also told us when it was good. He would tell us: “It’s wonderful, keep it up. He surrounded us with love.

Michel Côté, about his friend Jean-Marc Vallée

Despite Jean-Marc Vallée’s flourishing international career, the two men have always remained close. In 2020, the director attended with his two sons the tribute that Ciné Quebec paid to Michel Côté, in Saint-Hyacinthe. “We saw each other a few times a year, even though he was very busy. We ate together, he told me his Hollywood anecdotes, we talked about our families. I think he loved me like a big brother. I made him laugh. He liked to laugh a lot. And I feel like I’m losing a little brother. [Il ravale un sanglot.] I am really sorry. ”

A filmmaker at heart

“I am in a state of shock”, meanwhile confided to Press director Denis Villeneuve. Their relationship dates back more than twenty years, to the time of the creation of the short film Vallée Magic words (1998), while they also both worked in the advertising industry. Jean-Marc Vallée had created a “directors club”: seven or eight filmmakers meeting regularly to watch a film over a meal and discuss it. “It lasted for several years and then our friendship developed. ”

“When we make movies in Los Angeles, we always look at the shining side, but it’s also scary,” explained the director of Dune. “Jean-Marc was the only person with whom I could really share this adventure because he was going through something similar. We have developed a great bond. There is also that, by a somewhat bewildering coincidence, my daughter fell in love with her son. In a way, Jean-Marc was part of my extended family. ”

“Jean-Marc’s main quality as a filmmaker? ” His heart. [Il avait] an ardent and dazzling desire to capture a truth on the screen, without artifice. He has developed a great discipline within a very assumed approach, which has earned him enormous success. Jean-Marc still had a lot of films in his stomach. ”


Denis Villeneuve

I remember coming out of the screening of C. R. A. Z. Y. completely overwhelmed by the generosity there was in this film. For me that was a big lesson. Honestly, a part of me then changed in the very way I conceived the cinema. Shocked to see how generous Jean-Marc was. A real generosity of the heart. Great human attention. A very sensitive person.

Denis Villeneuve

Patrice Vermette, artistic director of several Valley films including C. R. A. Z. Y. and Café de Flore, for his part praised the determination and the boundless ambition of his “big boyfriend”.

Jean-Marc Vallée was “a go-getter, a pit bull. He had this ability to encourage people to surpass themselves. He was also extremely generous. He didn’t keep his success to himself. The notion of sharing was very important to him, as much in the group of friends as in the community. […] He never sat on the laurels and he is an example for everyone. He made us all dream by proving that we were capable too.

with Marc-André Lussier, Press