Le camion et la grâce

The Truck and the Grace and North of Montréal are the results of a slow process ofcareful documentation and filming conducted by Emmanuelle Léonard. During numerousweeks, Léonard has accompanied the personnel of RAP Jeunesse, a non-profitorganization, in their night shifts across the northern neighbourhoods of Montréal toprovide care and basic services to different users. Four evenings per week, an ageingvan that drifts through the city, stopping at various predetermined spots, becomes thedestination where a population at the edges of norms can receive condoms, syringes forclean injections or accessories for crack consumption. The service provided as a meansto alleviate the damages of marginalized lives is accompanied by the care and warmth ofthe staff of RAP Jeunesse. The crude exchange of some much-needed basic tools oftenbecomes the occasion to initiate a dialogue that transcends the initial practicality. Whilecasually chatting with a floating population of users, some frequent, some occasional,Joelle Boivin, Geneviève Gill, Sarah Tremblay Dallaire and Sarah Bélanger, youngpsychosocial workers, distribute information and other forms of support, provide basiclegal or medical counseling. Or, more simply, they offer a few minutes of unscripted andvery direct humanity, just by asking people a simple and honest question, i.e to ask,“How are you doing?”.

The organization also occasionally rents rooms in peripheral motels, often alreadyfrequented by the persons it aims to reach, to provide other services such as bloodscreens in collaboration with specialized nurses, pertaining to other NGOs, or to gather information and statistical data. Turning the camera on the bare spaces of such roomsand on the long moments of pause that characterize the action of these dedicatedworkers, captured in their conversations, Léonard creates a portrait of an expandedtime, when, in fact the principal asset offered are exactly the condition of waiting and tobe available to others. The personnel in the van wait and the rooms in the motels wait aswell. Always discreet and attentive of other’s intimacies, Léonard’s camera breaches thedistance between the observer and the observed, exploring the boundaries of thedocumentary format, as the two videos surely show the “truth,” but in so doing reveal afascinating emotional depth. Ultimately, we watch the faces of Joelle, Geneviève, Sarahand Sarah, captivated by their glow as we are when in front of the grandest actresses ofcinema, because what Léonard manages to do is to make us feel deeply for them.

Le camion et la grâce
Le camion et la grâce, 2018
Still extracted from single-channel HD video installation with sound,13min52s


, 2018
Still extracted single-channel HD video installation with sound,13min52s


, 2018
Still extracted from single-channel HD video installation with sound,13min52s


, 2018
Still extracted from single-channel HD video installation with sound,13min52s


, 2018
Still extracted from single-channel HD video installation with sound,13min52s


, 2018
Still extracted from single-channel HD video installation with sound,13min52s


, 2018
Still extracted from single-channel HD video installation with sound,13min52s


, 2018
Still extracted from single-channel HD video installation with sound,13min52s