Set in late 19th century New Orleans, LE PARDON portrays an unusual dialog between a man and a woman: he is heard but never seen, and she is seen but never speaks. A ghostly tale of an almost encounter, it is a poem about forgiveness, the art of listening and an hommage to the crescent city. French with English subtitles.
Starring MARIO BRASSARD (the longest week, 30 rock, gossip girl) and NICOLE BARRÉ (zoo, the paperboy).
Produced in association with Triple8Park Pictures.
LE PARDON premiered at Hill Country Film Festival in fredericksburg, texas on May 1, 2014. It was programmed into 24 FESTIVALS in 4 countries, winning 8 AWARDS, including BEST SCORE, BEST COSTUME DESIGN, BEST POSTER and BEST DIRECTOR.
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Written and Directed by
Margarethe Baillou and Madeline S. McEneney
LE PARDON zooms in on one of the most human needs there is: dignity, both one’s own as well as that of others. In this case, it is achieved through a dialog based on both honesty and regard therefor. A male and a female share a dialog about his broken heart. He is heard but not seen; she is seen but stays silent throughout, listening. In the end, there is closure. Artistically, I decided to mirror the narrative dialog with the most fundamental synergy in film: visuals and audio.
I wrote LE PARDON in one sitting one day while in Toronto. Repeatedly, I attempted to add on to it, but it always felt like wearing one too many pieces of jewelry. I finally gave up and accepted its length. One and a half years later, after many months of searching for the right location for LE PARDON, I visited New Orleans for the first time and was instantly taken by the city’s humbling beauty and its almost spiritual love for the arts. I had rarely seen a place that embraced every visitor so generously the way New Orleans does. Still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, the city has rebuilt niches for its most defining inhabitants: artists and their passionate worlds. Having lost so many people and homes, it welcomes new ones. I knew New Orleans was capable of meeting my little story at eye level. Just in time before the Holidays, LE PARDON had found a home.
After reviewing the script with my fellow producer, Madeline S. McEneney, we began reaching out to New Orleans, and with local help from our production manager, Pamela Moriarty, the production schedule shaped up quickly. We flew in on a Monday and went straight to casting. That same night, we selected an actress, Nicole Barré, rehearsed on Tuesday, shot on Wednesday at the Benachi House and wrapped on Thursday. On Friday, we were back on a plane to New York. During that short time, we were invited to the homes of two of our crew members who had known us for only a few days, an example of the extraordinary warmth and hospitality of the people of New Orleans.
Our New York casting director, Judy Bowman, found our “Male Voice”. Mario Brassard walked into the room and stunned us all by delivering his lines so perfectly and in the exact way I had always read them to others that it made me wonder if he was in fact able to read my mind. His recordings at HSR I NY took less than half an hour. The film’s mood was accentuated by the dreamlike, slightly uncanny score by Jody Gray and bookend theme by “Music Box Man”, John Morton, who handcrafted a music box on which to play his composition.
LE PARDON is a small, delicate film, a kind of a blink-of-an-eye story, a glimpse offering admission to a lover’s soul, a reflection on the art of listening and my personal hommage to the spiritually indestructible Crescent City.
Margarethe Baillou, Director/Writer/Producer
LE PARDON was the first time I produced both a foreign language film and in New Orleans. The city is a beautiful location, we had a great crew who provided us with such an efficient work environment that allowed us to complete everything within a week. I would work there again in a heartbeat.
Madeline S. McEneney, Producer
To score LE PARDON, I choose instruments like paper accordion, harmonium, an out-of-tune piano and solo cello to create dreamlike, romantic music to accompany the strong, melancholy imagery, somewhat non-linear narrative and deft sound design. I used the quiet moments in the piece a lot as punctuation. It’s very late 19th century with whiffs of New Orleans.
Jody Gray, Composer (Original Score)
Mario Brassard Man (VO)
Mario Brassard is a French Canadian actor. Film and television credits include GOSSIP GIRL, SPIN CITY, Dorothy Parker’s THE SEXES, Jorg Fockele's SPOKES, SWIMFAN, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, GUIDING LIGHT and AS THE WORLD TURNS. Stage credits include Theresa Rebeck’s KATIE AND FRANK, Geoffrey Nauffts’s BABY STEPS, directed by Charles Tuthill; THE KILLING GAME (Ionesco Festival), BENT (Gallery Players), LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES, directed by Michael Unger, and THE STUDENT PRINCE at the Opéra de Montréal. Mario's voice work ranges from commercials for Hyatt Hotels and Bridgestone Tires to the audio book version of Daniel Boulud's LETTERS TO A YOUNG CHEF. He lives in New York.
Nicole Barré Woman
Nicole Barré is an actress and acting coach. Her film credits include RACING FOR TIME and MONSTERWOLF. She has appeared in television commercials, including those for Ford Lincoln alongside Harry Connick Jr. and for Easy Spirit Shoes. As assistant, she has worked for cinematographer and Academy Award winner, Robert Richardson, as well as for actors, Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie and Academy Award nominee Brad Pitt and their children during their travels. Recently, Nicole was signed on as on-set acting coach for the child actors of ON THE ROAD. She has studied at the University of New Orleans with a focus on drama and communications. In Los Angeles, she studied under Steve Helgoth. She lives in New Orleans where she teaches “Acting and Introduction to Television & Film” at John Robert Powers Performing Arts Academy, while actively pursuing her career in the film and television capital known as “Hollywood South”.