Maelström, a movie written and directed by Denis VILLENEUVE (2000), examines the responsibility that each of us must bear for our actions, and the often painful consequences caused by anguish. Vulnerable from a recent abortion, businesswoman Bibiane Champagne makes a bad financial error which in her brother's eyes is unforgivable, and he fires her without delay. Profoundly disturbed, she sets out by car one rainy night and hits a pedestrian on the slippery road, yet she runs away without seeking help. Her life as a spoiled and carefree young woman is then transported by a genuine "maelström" - the realization of harsh reality. Through the newspapers, Bibiane learns that her victim, a 53-year-old fishmonger and Norwegian immigrant, has succumbed to his injuries. She returns to the scene of the accident, where she meets the fishmonger's son, Evian. The young man immediately falls hopelessly in love, but Bibiane, although eaten up by guilt, is unable to admit her offence. The film's originality finds expression in the story's narration, presented through the powerful voice of Pierre Lebeau in the guise of a dead fish lying on the fishmonger's table.
Marie-Josée Croze (a true discovery) touchingly portrays Bibiane, and Jean-Nicolas Verreault plays Evian. The film has made the rounds of more than 30 international festivals and won many prizes: International Critics' Prize at the Berlin Film Festival (2001); GENIE for best motion picture (2001); best Canadian feature film, and best artistic contribution for photography to André Turpin at the 24th Montréal World Film Festival. In 2001 the film garnered several JUTRA awards: best motion picture, best actress (Marie-Josée Croze), best achievement in production, best achievement in artistic direction, best screenplay, best sound and best editing.