Vendredi Soir au Club Vidéo

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A visit to a popular spot now threatened with extinction by the ultra-proximity of our computer screens

  • Interactive essay: Cédric Chabuel Alexandra Viau

  • Design and programming: Deux Huit Huit

  • In partnership with: Le Devoir

Autre pochette

Vidéo Centre-Ville

City: Québec

Number of films: 30,000

FRENCH ORIGINAL VERSION WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

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The Second Floor?

When Victor Paré talks about “The Second Floor”, he’s referring to the basement of Vidéo Centre-Ville, dedicated entirely to 18+ movies. Profits from this impressive collection of adult films allow the owner to invest in genre movies. His “porn” and “repertory” clienteles coexist rather well, and on occasion, even mingle.

Hooked on Video Stores

An inveterate film enthusiast, store clerk Victor Paré has spent an inordinate amount of time in his neighbourhood video store. As a child, he could spent hours there, just looking at the video box covers. “I went addictively, almost daily. I looked forward to returning my tape so that I could rent another one right away. The only problem was that I couldn’t break the habit, and it ended up costing me way too much money!”

3femmes

Vidéo du Carrefour

City Val-David

Number of films 16,424

They are determined

They are strong

They will resist

FRENCH ORIGINAL VERSION WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

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Nicole’s Other Lives

Nicole Vézina has owned Vidéo du Carrefour since 2004. Nothing in her previous career choices suggested that she would wind up there. She’s been a secretary, a hairdresser, a meat-packer and an upholsterer. “I always wanted to own some kind of store”, she says. By chance, that turned out to be a video store, where Nicole herself has reupholstered the seats in the Internet section.

Rare VHS Tapes

The owner of Vidéo du Carrefour carefully preserves a VHS copy of certain films that are no longer produced in DVD format. She asks for a $25 deposit per rental, which doesn’t seem to discourage film buffs, who can also rent a VHS player at the store.

Hold-up at the Video Store

Maryse Drapeau was working alone one night in May when a young man walked in the door and leapt over the candy counter, making off with the contents of the till. The store clerk recalls: “I was out on the floor; I didn’t have time to react. Fortunately, I wasn’t hurt.” Despite this incident, the three women who work at Vidéo du Carrefour continue to take turns working alone at night.

Moitié Moitié

Club vidéo dépanneur Premier Choix

Bécancour, Quebec

Number of films: 2,500

FRENCH ORIGINAL VERSION WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

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Objective: Clients

Competition is fierce in the world of convenience video stores. Jean-Luc Richard’s main goal is to lure the largest possible number of clients into his store. To this end, he operates a Sears counter, where clients can order from the catalogue. At the same counter, clients can also sign up for the gym in the back of the store. Diversification pays!

Flooded with Formats

Changes in movie formats are a nightmare for any video store owner, who, virtually overnight, has to invest in a new collection. While a film on VHS used to cost $100, a DVD costs only $25, and a Blu-ray, $35. Do owners make more profits now? “Absolutely not. It just makes up for the losses we experience due to clients downloading movies from the Internet”, says storeowner Jean-Luc Richard.

xxx

Club vidéo Régo 3XXX

Trois-Rivières, Québec

Number of films: 2,000

FRENCH ORIGINAL VERSION WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Caution

This interactive work contains images of nudity and/ or explicit sexuality. Viewer discretion is advised.

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Spoofs and Big Busts

One of Régo 3XXX’s most-rented movies is Plus-Sized and Plugged, filed in the “Big Breasts” section. The “Young Girls” and “Evil Empire” shelves are also quite popular. Chantal Boisclair, a store employee, is surprised by the popularity of certain films: “When it hurts and when the girls vomit, there’s nothing sexual about it. That’s just violence and it’s degrading.” Porn scripts that parody such best-selling movies as Top Gun or The Flintstones are the most popular among couples.

Into the Shredder!

Clients don’t hide their faces whey they walk into an adult video store, but they do expect a minimum of confidentiality. At Régo 3XXX, all paid bills end up in the shredder, and, at the client’s request, phone numbers may be kept confidential.

On-site or Take-out

For a long time, Video Club Régo 3XXX provided clients with a very special service: a private screening room. To screen a movie, the client went in alone, and wore headphones. To avoid any trouble, store clerk Chantal Boisclair would admit clients based on their good behaviour. “I turned away drunks or scruffy people.” Due to renovations, this service is temporarily unavailable.

the taylor's dream

Royal Fashion

Montréal, Québec

Number of films: 2,000

VERSION ORIGINALE ANGLAISE AVEC SOUS-TITRES FRANÇAIS

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Welcome to Nollywood

John Ola has films from Ghana, Cameroon and the Congo, but the majority come from Nigeria, where he grew up. Along with the United States and India, Nigeria is part of the Holy Trinity of world film production. Nollywood produces over 1,000 films a year, compared to about 40 in Québec. Often shot in English, Nollywood films are hugely successful in Africa. However, the culture of movie piracy prevents Nollywood artists from earning a decent living from their art.

From PAL to NTSC

John Ola, owner of Royal Fashion, started his business in the early 1990s with a $7,000 bank loan. This tailor by trade used the money to buy a sewing machine and a VCR recorder. The latter allowed him to transfer his precious films purchased directly from a Nigerian producer from PAL - an illegible format in Canada – to NTSC.

Dark Days

The future looks gloomy for ethnic video stores, whose business has been negatively affected by piracy and the arrival of satellite television. Like John Ola, many of Montréal’s Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Spanish-language stores have chosen to sell, rather than rent, movies. But some have been selling copies. In 2012, the RCMP confiscated 9,000 counterfeit DVDs from Montréal stores.

About

Mommy, what’s a video store?

Un vendredi soir au club vidéo/ Friday Night at the Video Store, directed by Cédric Chabuel and Alexandra Viau, is a tribute to those places that brought people together, and that led to a sudden increase in the number of film buffs, brought video and film into the home and for a long period, mirrored changes in society. After witnessing video stores drop like flies, one after the other, the directors were determined to record and preserve a vestige of the brief existence of these local businesses, victims of trends and technology. Their project is an archaeological study of a fleeting present, perched on the tipping point between the past and the future.

Un vendredi soir au club vidéo/ Friday Night at the Video Store is an interactive documentary that takes a playful look behind the scenes of five video stores, popular neighbourhood shops now threatened by the ultra proximity of our computer screens. This documentary puts the spotlight on independent storekeepers, who cling to their dream of keeping the video rental industry alive. Their personal stories shed light on the major transformations – still too early to assess – in our daily lives, brought about by the Internet. What stands out above and beyond the financial difficulties experienced by what may well be the last corner video stores is their accessibility and congeniality.

Ying Jia, Corner Store in La Petite Patrie

Behind the “dépanneur” storefront, and the clichés, there often lie the story of a family and the realities of doing a job, integrating into a new culture and learning a new language. An intimate interactive essay about a convenience store in the heart of Montreal. In collaboration with Le Devoir.


Territories

We travel through them on our way to work, we choose to live in them and we do our shopping there: in one way or another, the new urban landscapes are a part of our lives.

Creative Team

Cinematography and Direction

Cédric Chabuel
Alexandra Viau

Sound Design

Cédric Chabuel

Research

Cédric Chabuel
Alexandra Viau

Web Design and Development

Deux Huit Huit


Production Team

Producer

Dominique Willieme

Executive Producer

Hugues Sweeney

Technology Officer

Martin Viau

Administrator

Marie-Andrée Bonneau

Production Coordinators

Dominique Brunet
Caroline Fournier

Marketing Officers

Jenny Thibault
Sophie Thouin

Assisted by

Karine Sévigny

Information Technology

Sergiu Raul Suciu

Interactive Services

Matthieu Stréliski
Catherine Perreault
Émilie Nguyen Ngoc

Press Relations

Nadine Viau


Le Devoir Team

Editor-in-Chief

Josée Boileau

News Director

Roland-Yves Carignan

Deputy Director on Information for Internet

Paul Cauchon

Web Administrator

Yanick Martel

Web Technicians

Laurence Clavel
Marie-Pier Frappier
Benoît Munger
Philippe Papineau

Project Journalists

Catherine Lalonde
François Lévesque
François Pesant (photographe)

Vidéo du Carrefour ("3 Femmes")

Nicole Vézina, owner
Maryse Drapeau, employee
Sonia Paquin, employee

Vidéo Centre Ville ("De l'or en banque")

Patrice Doré, owner
Victor Paré, employee

Club vidéo dépanneur Premier choix ("Moitié-moitié")

Jean-Luc Richard, owner
Lyne Francoeur, employee

Club vidéo Régo 3XXX ("Papa est chez le coiffeur")

Réal Gaudet, owner
Chantal Boisclair, employee

Club vidéo Royal Fashion ("The taylor's dream")

John Ola, owner

Thanks to Germain Larochelle for her help and her love of cinema.
Thanks also to Gabi Macaluso, Julie Gauthier, Lisa Arduini and to everyone else who steered us to the very best video stores.