The news fell on Thursday afternoon: victim of a bone marrow disease, actor Michel Côté withdraws from public life. The medium as long as it sounds like the public. And for cause. In addition to his successes on stage and on television, brew beer for OmertaDuring the four decades of his career, Michel Côté was one of the most popular actors in Québec cinema. A look back at five notable movies.
By Moonlight, by André Forcier, 1983
In his big screen debut, Michel Côté immediately sparked the imagination as Frank, an albino night owl who, flanked by a former bowling champion, yearns for a chimerical El Dorado.
Imbued with poetry and surrealism, To the light of the Moon is one of André Forcier’s most characteristic—and most beautiful—films. The latter will redirect the actor in his formidable The Wyoming Wind.
Cruise Bar, by Robert Menard, 1989
Not everything has aged well in this “great” comedy, but it’s undeniable that Michel Côté gives her an acting lesson in four contrasting roles, that is, like so many men who roam the bars looking for love or sex.
Impossible not to have a pinch before the successive disappointments of the sickly shy Serge; not laughing happily when “the divine” (Louise Marleau, who else?) throws at the pedant Jean-Jacques that “your illness can be cured, a gentle bite”; not laughing at Pauline Lapointe’s thunderous, sustained orgasm; so as not to worry (yes, yes) when Gérard, the chronic infidel, realizes that he has just lost his wife (played by Véronique Le Flaguais, the actor’s wife in the city).
The first of several films by the actor to break the box office.
MAD, by Jean-Marc Vallee, 2005
Ten years after the surprise success of the thriller BlacklistMichel Côté reunited with the late filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée for what would become one of the most memorable critical and popular triumphs in Quebec film history.
phenomenal movie, MAD delivered what remains arguably Michel Côté’s most moving score, unforgettable as a father whose conservative values are at odds with his sincere love for the fourth of his five children (Marc-André Grondin), who is gay.
In doing so, Jean-Marc Vallée chronicles 1970s Quebec with a perfect mix of nostalgia and wit. This, with the technical brilliance that he later perfected in Hollywood.
As for Michel Côté, he received for this role the acting award in Iris (then Jutra) and Canadian Screens (then Genie).
From Father to Police, by Émile Gaudreault, 2009
With revenues of nearly $9 million, this saucy-lined detective comedy is one of only two Quebec films, with Good cop, bad cop (Érik Canuel, 2006), another police comedy, to appear in the top 10 list of box office successes in Quebec, where otherwise only Hollywood blockbusters are enthroned. Star and comedian Louis-José Houde shine as a father-and-son cop duo with opposite temperaments.
Piché between heaven and earth, by Sylvain Archambault, 2010
Michel Côté found another prominent role in the person of Captain Robert Piché, who in 2001 saved all 306 people on board his flight by making a heroic emergency landing.
However, for the pilot from Quebec, with fame came the discovery of significant personal problems, including alcoholism.
Note that during sequences set in the past, it is Michel Côté’s son, actor Maxime Le Flaguais, who plays Piché. The film was box office champion the year of its release. In 2013, Michel Côté received Québec Cinéma’s Lifetime Achievement Award.