Louisiana (Louisiane)

1983 _ Virginia, owner of the Bagatelle estate in Louisiana, devotes her whole life to defending her plantation from the hostilities of those around her, including during the Civil War. She is helped by Clarence, her hopeless love.

When her father dies in 1836, Virginia Tregan, young, beautiful, and passionate, returns to Louisiana after finishing her education in France, accompanied by her faithful maid Mignette. She then learns that she is financially ruined. She is put up by her godfather, Marquis Adrien de Damvilliers, the owner of the Bagatelle estate, which borders the little land she has left. Virginia is clearly attracted to the estate steward, Clarence Dandridge, who mysteriously keeps his distance.

In order to hold on to her reputation, Virginia schemes to get rid of Anne MacGregor, Adrien’s lover and fiancée, so that she can marry him herself.

In 1847, Adrien passes away during an outbreak of yellow fever, leaving Virginia with their three children, Adrien, Pierre and Julie. Virginia is still in love with Clarence, who insists their love is impossible due to a sword injury he received. Virginia flees to Paris.

She meets Charles de Vigor, who has been ruined by a confidence trickster called Edmond Oswald, who sold him a bogus gold mine. Charles and Virginia marry.

In 1857, Virginia has to cope with the death of Pierre, burned alive in a barn fire, with Charles’ departure for France with their son Fabien, and with the slaves’ desire for emancipation. Luckily, faithful Clarence, who had left after Charles arrived, returns to Virginia’s side.

But in 1859, Virginia, already dealing with financial problems and the trouble caused by her wastrel son, is dealt another blow: the death of her daughter Julie, who is raped by her godfather Philippe Dorley. She gets her revenge in 1862, killing him with her own hands in Paris, where she traveled to purchase weapons and ammunition for the Confederate cause.

At the end of the Civil War, during which Adrien junior was killed in battle, Virginia, ruined, is forced to sell Bagatelle. The estate was spared during the war thanks to a Yankee officer: the illegitimate son of Adrien and Anne MacGregor.

The businessman and politician who purchases Virginia’s debts is none other than Edmond Oswald. She refuses to accept the old crook’s suggested deal where she would keep Bagatelle if she married him. He therefore puts the estate up for auction. In a dramatic twist, Virginia buys the property back with the very bonds sold to Charles by Oswald, signed in his own hand. In order not to lose face, Oswald is forced to accept them as payment.

Virginia learns with joy that Anne MacGregor has a grandson who will be able to inherit the estate. She can end her days peacefully, with Clarence by her side.

 

Production: I. C.C. (International Cinéma Corporation) – Ciné Louisiana Inc. (Montréal) – Filmax – Antenne 2 (Paris) – RAI TV2 (Rome).
Producers: John Kemeny, Denis Héroux
Co-producers: Gabriel Boustani, Nader Atassi
Scénario, dialogues : Dominique Fabre, Étienne Périer and Charles Israël based on the novels « Louisiane » and « Fausse Rivière » by Maurice Denuzière.
Directeurs de la photographie : Michel Brault, Guy Delattre.
Opérateurs : Al Smith, Yves Agostini.
Editing: Henri Lanoë assisted by Jocelyne Genest.
Music: Claude Bolling.
Ingénieurs du son : Richard Lightstone, Jean-Charles Ruault, assisted by Jim Thompson.
Mixing: Michel Barlier.
Sound effects: Terry Burke.
Sets: Jack McAdam assisted by Randy Moore, Ivo Christante.
Set decorator: Linda Allen.
Costumes : John Hay, Christian Gasc, Bernard Minne, assisted by Renée April, Blanche Boileau.
Dressers: Luc Leflaguais, Francesca Chamberland, Nancy Heck, Françoise Maréchal.
Make-up: Stéphane Dupuis, Suzanne Benoit (for Margot Kidder), Josianne Deschamps, Joan Isaacson, Karl Wesson.
Hairstyles: Aldo Signoretti for Margot Kidder, Gaëtan Noiseux, Leslie Anne Anderson.
Casting : Mike Fenton, Jane Feinberg, Valérie Massalas.
Directeurs de production : Stéphane Reichel, (Canada) Michel Nicolini (France).
Studio managers: Peter Brey, Annie Bartanowski.
Assistant directors: Pierre Magny, Jacques Méthé, Madeleine Henrie, Emmanuel Gust, Marie Fernandez.
Scripte : Johanne Tolley-Harwood, Nathalie Vierny.
Photographer: Takashi Seida.
Press agent: Yvette Camp.
Special effects: Thomas Fisher.

 

Cast

Margot Kidder : Virginia Tregan.
Ian Charleson : Clarence Dandridge.
Victor Lanoux : Baron Charles de Vigor.
Andréa Ferréol : Mignette.
Len Cariou : Edmond Oswald.
Raymond Pellegrin : Philippe Morley.
Lloyd Bochner : Adrien de Damvilliers.
Hilly Hicks : Brent.
Corinne Marchand : Anne MacGregor.
Ken Pogue : docteur Murphy.
Angus MacInnes : Albert Schoeller.
Akosua Busia : Ivy.
Jim Bearden : Percy Templeton.
Larry Lewis : Adrien junior.
Wayne Best : Major MacGregor.
Ron Lewis : Pierre.
Alex Liggett: Adrien junior, jeune.
Matthew Breeding : Pierre, jeune.
Scott Burnette : Fabian.
Kellie Brassette : Julie.
Tara Winder : Ivy, jeune.
Mark Polley : Adrien MacGregor junior.
Timothy Patterson : Joe.

Running time: 186 minutes
Durée version télévisée : 6 episodes of 52 minutes each.
Filmed: 30 March – 31 July 1983.
Distribution : Parafrance.
Release in Paris: 25 January 1984.
Box office: 224 810 tickets sold in 13 weeks in 29 cinemas.