Norbourg, a rare Quebec financial thriller, hits theaters April 22

norbourg is a rather rare cinematographic object in Quebec, a financial thriller taking place almost behind closed doors in the office towers of downtown Montreal, a bit like American films like The wolf of Wall Street (2013) or The heist of the century (2015).

The film is directed by Maxime Giroux – known in particular for having shot Felix and Meira (2014) – from a screenplay by Simon Lavoie, who started working on it almost 10 years ago.

Beyond the more spectacular facts of the case – 130 million dollars stolen from 9,000 victims – relayed repeatedly in the news at the time, the screenwriter wanted to lift the veil on the underside of the scandal and on its main architect, unknown from the public, Éric Asselin.

Turn your jacket twice rather than once

Éric Asselin was an investigator for the Quebec Securities Commission (CVMQ), ancestor of the Autorité des marchés financiers. As part of his work, he spent a good part of his life seeing huge sums of money go by, without ever being able to touch it; fertile ground for greed.

I discovered this being hidden in the shadows, calculating, whose motivations, compared to Vincent Lacroix, are much more rooted in a kind of bitterness and frustrationexplains Vincent-Guillaume Otis, who also did not know the story of Éric Asselin before being approached to play him on screen.

Although Mr. Asselin was the real mastermind behind the fraud implemented by Vincent Lacroix and his investment fund management company, Norbourg, he was spared justice because he changed sides at the last moment, betraying his accomplice after betraying his profession.

He played his cards very intelligently throughout the process, explains Vincent-Guillaume Otis. Vincent Lacroix was rather naive. It was a bit like a game of poker for him; he was having fun.

“Norbourg”, a film about the worst financial scandal in Quebec

Fraud victims in the background

Film more cerebral than sentimental, norbourg focuses first on the technical side of the financial shenanigans developed by Lacroix and Asselin. Obviously, the approximately 9000 victims of fraud are not forgotten, but they are not necessarily at the heart of the plot.

The director hopes, however, that his work will be able to absolve those who blame themselves for having fallen into the trap. It’s not your fault you got cheated. You were probably ashamed of having been robbed of $15,000, $50,000, $200,000, but in reality, it was impossible to know it was going to happenhe summarizes, addressing the victims.

It was even impossible for the Caisse de depot and Desjardins. Everyone trusted this man, who was a charmer.

François Arnaud agrees. This is also why the Vincent Lacroix he plays on screen is far from the downcast man we saw on the news when he was arrested in the mid-2000s.

We have the image of Vincent Lacroix with his tail between his legs, when he has already been arrested. […] He has gained weight, he can’t sleep anymore. But the Vincent Lacroix we approach in the film is at the top, he is confident, charismatic and convincing.he explains.

It is important to honor the victims to show a Vincent Lacroix who has these qualities, otherwise we do not understand. If we show a Vincent Lacroix who is obviously a crook and a good for nothing, we do not understand why people were fooled.

This text was written frominterviews conducted by Catherine Richercultural columnist on the show 15-18. Comments may have been edited for clarity or conciseness.

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