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La Rivière du Gouffre

Accession number: 
Production Years: 
1959 to 1960


Film Properties: 
Length (feet): 
1052 (16mm)
Length (minutes): 
Holding Institutions: 

Library and Archives Canada: 16mm, Beta.
"Features the rural lifestyle of the inhabitants of Bay St. Paul, a village in the Charlebois county sixty miles below Quebec in the valley of the Whirlpool River. The daily work of this farming community is shown including: farmers pressing down the hay for the winter using horses; three brothers flailing their bean crop to shell them; the local 'junk man' with his dogs and ponys; children travelling to and from school in horse-drawn sleighs; and girls collecting clover in the fields to make honey. A family travelling by sleigh to Sunday mass is shown leaving the horses just outside town and completing the journey by car - considered a more appropriate vehicle for arriving at the church. Four mills in the village, powered by local streams dammed and harnessed for this purpose, service all the valley farms, the miller being paid in goods. Before the planting begins, fish traps are built on the tide flats near the mouth of the valley. Thousands of pounds of capelin are caught in these traps enough to enrich the fields of all the farmers. When snow blocks the roads to the outside world the season of the turlutte (pronounced ter-loot) begins. This is a time of socializing, visiting and singing featuring the turlutte - a song that tells a story while the teller dances. There is no express purpose in the telling of these stories other than for the joy of it. A gathering of the community in a home is shown. A man in the centre dances and sings a turlutte while the others, adults and all ages of children, watch, sing along and sometimes dance with their feet while seated."


Online database National Film Board of Canada.
"À la fin des années 50 étaient sur le point de disparaître tous les métiers qui ont assuré la survie d'un peuple colonisateur dans la vallée de la Rivière du Gouffre et de Baie Saint-Paul."

"In a valley on the North Shore of the St. Lawrence, the seasons unfold with their chores and pleasures: children gathering roses for honey, an old uncle's wine, pressing apple cider, three brothers shelling broads beans, their flails beating time, grandmother's spinning wheel, the old stone mill, the rushing rivulets of spring, a silvery catch of capelin washed up on shore by the May Moon."