8:17 p.m. Darling Street

Synopsis: A former journalist, three times divorced, Gerard is now a member of Alcoholics Anonymous who lives in a small apartment on Darling Street. By a combination of circumstances, he isn't home when his building explodes one evening, causing the death of six people. Moved by the fact that he has escaped death, Gerard finds his old journalistic instincts returning and decides to research his dead neighbors' past to understand what occured, but also to give meaning to this terrible event.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Bernard Émond
  6 nominations.
101 min

My name's Grard.

I'm an aIcohoIic.

I've been sober

I shouId be dead.

I don't Iike the sea.

But in St-Jean-Port-JoIi,

there's nothing much to do.

So I watch the sea.

It's hard to know exactIy

how stories begin.

I guess mine started

with a phone caII.

Yes, Chantal.

Who else could it be?

l can't.

Lortie's airing on FM at 8:00.

l can't afford damn tickets!

l said, l can't!

l'll come if you put

the radio on and keep quiet.

To make a long story short,

l demanded to see the manager.

l went back to the store.

A $100 mistake is ridiculous.


First of my 3 ex-wives.

Since I've been sober,

she caIIs me for odd jobs.

Like she can't afford

a pIumber.

Anyway. The 9th step

of AIcohoIics Anonymous says,

''We made amends directIy

to those we harmed.''

I'd given her grief,

so I heIp her out sometimes.

She reminds me how

I wasted my Iife,

what a bad reporter I was, how

I Iet her down not having kids,

the books I never wrote,

the infideIities I committed,

aII the Scotch I drank.

''Sorry, Ma'am, l was wrong.''

l had to force it out of her!

See? Wasn't that simple?

You got to hear the concert

after all.

- l love hearing music with you.

- lt brings back nice memories?

Divorce is Iike marriage:

it matures.

After 20 years,

our divorce is finaIIy working.

I dunno what she sees in me.

Guess we're Iike famiIy.

If she hadn't caIIed me over

that night,

I'd have died Iistening to

Beethoven's 29th piano sonata.

But the worst thing

was the shoeIace.

It took 10 seconds to tie it.

Enough time to run into someone

who missed a stop sign.

So much for driving sober, f***!

You had a stop-

No, l had right of way!

Do you understand French?

l can't understand you!

Try fiIIing out

an accident report

with a uniIinguaI


Not easy.

We spent 30 minutes

arguing in Cantonese.

It saved my Iife.


Back with the newspaper?

- No, l live there!

- Tough luck. Which address?

- Ten sixty-eight.

- You won't sleep here tonight.

lf it isn't Langlois!

Back at the paper?

I'd been a reporter

for 25 years.

I covered fire, crime,

and disasters.

I'd seen bisected bodies,

smashed faces,

chiIdren burnt aIive.

Sights more horrifying

than any man shouId see.

One day, I decided

that was enough.

I guess the past

catches up to you.

Too late, Gerry, show's over!

You don't look so good.

Are you sober?

Yes! l feel bad

'cause l lived there!

An explosion?


- When?

- Call came in at 8:17 p.m.

- Casualties?

- Not sure how many.

- How long were you here?

- Seven months.

How many people lived here?

An old lady on the ground floor.

A family on the 2nd:

father, mother, teenage boy

and a little girl.

A single guy next door to them,

and a girl beside me.

- Any idea who was inside?

- Maybe the old lady.

For sure,

the mother and daughter.

The father had just left.

He's in the victims' bus.

The others are missing.

You stay out.

l'm not on assignment.

l just want to sit down.

l lived there.

That's a good one.

Get on.

You deserve it.

One night, I wanted to interview

a man whose kid died in a fire.

I foIIowed him

right into the bus.

He went crazy. It took 3 cops

to stop him from kiIIing me.

But I don't remember.

I was too drunk

to remember what I did.

Holy sh*t.

The house is gone!

Hey, Dad!

My downstairs neighbour.

Father of the girI who died.

He screamed at her aII day.

Maybe he regretted it now.

The first thing I saw there

was the mini-bar.

I've often Iost

everything in Iife.

This was the first time

it happened sober.

I was thirsty.

Nothing Iike a Scotch

to Iighten the Ioad of Iife.

I couIdn't sIeep.

I kept wondering why I survived.

Why me?

A 3-time divorc.

A Iiar, thief, cheater,

who, for 20 years,

had Ioved onIy booze.

Why was I spared

whiIe my neighbours died? Why?

A shoelace. A f***ing shoelace.

It's deepIy insuIting to owe

one's Iife to an untied shoeIace.

Anyway. The 3rd step

of AIcohoIic Anonymous says,

''We entrust our wiII and Iife

to God as we understand him.''

I guess we must accept

what happens to us as His wiII.

Easier said than done.

After the Moreau St. tunneI,

on Ontario, you reach HocheIaga.

Canada's 3rd-poorest district.

This is home.

I grew up here.

I ended up moving back here,

I paid $1000/month

to Iive in posh areas.

Yet here,

in an unheated 3-room flat,

I couId taste water again.

Why're you here?

l lived here, marshall.

Third floor.

Life's strange, eh?

- Was it arson?

- l dunno.

- Any ideas?

- That explosion was weird.

What do you mean?

Weird. Listen, l can't talk now.

Call Public Affairs for details.

Well, how many died?

- Six.

- Are you sure?

Yes, l'm sure.

- No clue as to cause?

- For now,

it's ''Act of God''. Let me work.

Act of God.

Wrong thing to say

to an aIcohoIic at odds with God.

But Lt Geoffrion

had never been one for tact.

- Here.

- Thanks.

You live on Darling?

- Notice anything?

- No.

She was my neighbour.

She wasn't from around here.

The cIothes and bearing

of weaIth were obvious.

Mr Demers, please.

His daughter. lt's urgent.

l'll hold.

Dad? l'm trying to call Mom.

She's not home? Are you sure?

No, nothing.

Nothing's wrong.

lt's fine. l gotta go,

l'll call you back.

A cold towel!


- Thanks.

- Are you alright?


Want to get up?

- Sure you're OK?

- Yes.

Recognize me?

And so, I got drawn into it.

AII she said at the diner

was she'd been on a trip.

She'd Ient her flat to a friend,

and was worried.

I caIIed the fire dept.

and poIice for her.

We ended up in my car,

headed for the morgue.


l told you to keep out.

Try the Coroner.

l don't talk to reporters.

Especially scavengers like you.

Look. Calm down.

l lived in that block

on Darling.

This is my neighbour.

We're here for an lD.

ls that true?

Come this way.

- Shall l come?

- No, thanks.

Wait here.

A reporter?

lf anyone was in her place,

it was her mother not her friend.

Yeah, l heard her too.

Why'd she lie?

- She identified someone?

- Can't say.

- Where is she?

- Gone.



Old Mme Dumais, ground floor.

l don't know her first name.

My downstairs neighbour.

Don't know her last name.

Her husband and son

were on the bus.

Her daughter,


This one's unrecognizable!

The other two?

What other two?

Weren't there six?

l only have four.

One fireman said six.

That's news.

Geoffrion said six died.


- Maybe he was wrong.

- He's never wrong.

Better not get involved.



Anything l can do for you?

No. l'm fine.

Forget the little girl.

And...one day at a time.

I took it personaIIy.

A chiId's body

down at the morgue.

My damn Iife.

I'd done everything

to shorten it,

except shoot myseIf

or jump off a buiIding.

But a IittIe 4-year-oId girI

was dead and I was stiII aIive.

Scotch, please.

Double straight.

Ended up in Verdun,

with angIos.

EngIish, French, PoIish,

AIgonquin, no matter.

AA stories are aII the same.

First, the downfaII.

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Bernard Émond

Bernard Émond (born Montreal 1951) is a Québecois and Canadian director, screenwriter, novelist and essayist working in the French-language. He studied anthropology at university and lived for several years in the Canadian north where he worked for the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation. He began his film career making documentaries, later moving to feature-length films, all of which have been shot in Quebec. He is noted for the humanistic, sometimes spiritual depth of his films, in particular his trilogy of feature films (2007, 2009, 2012) based on the three Christian virtues, faith, hope, and charity. Other themes in his work include human dignity and frailty, and cultural loss. He describes himself as an agnostic and a "conservative socialist."Bernard Émond is married to Catherine Martin, also a Quebec film director. They live in Montreal. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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