Cinéma du Parc

Harold and Maude

Directed by Hal Ashby



Hal Ashby


Colin Higgins


Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles, Cyril Cusack, Charles Tyner, Tom Skerritt



USA 1971 91 mins OV English Subtitles : French
Genre Comedy

Harold Chasen, a rich and jaded twenty-something, spends his spare time staging mock suicides to get the attention of his mother, who doesn't seem to mind. His other hobby is attending funerals where he eventually meets 79-year-old Maude, another funeral enthusiast who loves life and embraces ideas of social, political and sexual freedom. Their friendship quickly develops as Harold's mother signs him up for a computer dating service. In between arranged dates, Harold and Maude have a picnic on a demolition site, save a tree, steal a police motorbike, frolic in a field of daisies and fall in love. Maude, on the other hand, is preparing to celebrate her 80th birthday in her own way.

HAROLD AND MAUDE was a resounding failure when it was released, but programmers like Roland Smith gave it a special place in the hearts of Quebec moviegoers, fostering a huge cult following for this box-office darling. In the 1970s, Smith programmed the film more than 300 times at the famous Outremont Theatre. Wrapped in a magnificent soundtrack by Cat Stevens, finally reissued this year on vinyl, this film is at once an irreverent, subversive, and anti-establishment black comedy, a deeply humane love story, and a film whose direction marked the rise of a great filmmaker, Hal Ashby. And because Smith, throughout his career as a programmer, has made considerable efforts to bridge the two solitudes by favouring subtitled prints, even if it means buying them himself and bringing them in from Europe, HAROLD AND MAUDE is presented in its original English version, with French subtitles. Before the screening, the festival will present Roland Smith with the Prix Denis-Héroux in recognition of an exceptional contribution to the dissemination of the seventh art in Quebec. - Translation: Rupert Bottenberg