Robin Aubert was born angry.
“And I wanted to take that anger and print it on film, to get rid of it,” said the Quebec filmmaker.
Crying Out is the result.
The film – screening tonight at the Beringia Centre – follows a man who couldn’t live without his second wife.
So he digs up her body and takes off with the corpse.
The man’s son and his father team up to track him down across the continent.
“It’s a road movie,” said Aubert.
“But it’s also about death and love.”
Aubert’s father lost his second wife 12 years ago.
It was a very hard time, said Aubert.
“I started drinking a lot.”
Years later, those dark times became inspirational.
“I wanted to talk about alcoholics, anger and the relationship I had with my grandfather,” said Aubert.
But Crying Out isn’t completely autobiographical – Aubert’s father didn’t dig up his dead wife and take off with the corpse.
“I didn’t want to write a story already in real life,” he said.
“I needed some fiction.”
Aubert started out as an actor, earning a living on TV.
But it felt too much like a job -“you punch in, perform, leave ….”
Then Aubert got a role on a TV show called Destination Race Around the World.
For six months, he and his competitors were shuffled from continent to continent, competing to make the best movie for each episode.
Aubert’s approach was to wait on the street for life to find him.
In India, he befriended a toothless old woman and filmed her story.
In Nepal he shot street kids.
“I spent several days with them, living on the streets first,” he said.
“So they’d be comfortable with me filming them.”
After the program wrapped up, Aubert stayed in film.
He made a few short films in Montreal, then returned to India.
This time he brought a producer, a sound girl and an actor from Quebec with him.
“And we improvised,” he said.
The film was about a twin from Quebec searching for his brother, who’d deserted from the Canadian army in Afghanistan.
Aubert is planning four more improvised films, each on a different continent.
The next one will be shot in the North, he said.
He was planning of shooting it in Nunavut.
But now that he’s seen the Yukon, he’s having second thoughts.
“Maybe I’ll come back here,” he said with a grin.
“It must be something in the air.”
Aubert likes the feel of improvised films.
“You need to act fast – not think, just create,” he said.
“I don’t want to make the perfect film, I don’t believe in it.
“I only do it from instinct.”
But Crying Out was written in advance.
“It’s like a painter who’s working on a nice painting, but also doing sketches on the side,” said Aubert.
Filming Crying Out was emotional, he added.
“I cast actors who had difficulty in life, because I knew they could go there to find good emotions for the scenes.”
The crew also knew “it was close to me,” he said.
The movie was cathartic for Aubert.
And it has the same effect on his audience.
“Death and love are universal,” he said.
After screening the film, Aubert receives a lot of emails from people who wanted to share their life stories.
“When you talk about something that is not far from you, you reach a lot of people,” he said.
“And sometimes you leave a film and have to share something, because the silence is difficult to manage.”
Crying Out helped Aubert battle with his anger.
“I think the next film will be more light,” he said.
Crying Out is screening as part of Les Rendez-Vous du Cinema Quebecois.
It’s showing at the Beringia Centre on Wednesday, April 20 at 8 p.m.
Aubert will be in attendance.
On April 21 there’s a screening of Two Frogs in the West, also at the Beringia Centre at 8 p.m.
Both movies are in French with English subtitles.
Contact Genesee Keevil at