The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Orders.
Straddling fiction and documentary reconstruction, Michel Brault’s Orders is a gripping reenactment of the roundup and imprisonment of ordinary Québécois citizens during the October Crisis of 1970, when Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau imposed martial law following the political kidnappings of a British diplomat and a government minister by the secessionist Front de libération du Québec. Nearly 500 people were arrested, imprisoned, and questioned during this period before eventually being released without any charges ever being brought against them. Brault, who won the Best Director’s Award at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival for Orders, interviewed 12 detainees and recorded 50 hours of material to base this harrowing portrait of the Crisis, drawing upon his pivotal contributions to the direct cinema and cinema vérité movements during its filming. Now restored 40 years after its explosive debut at Cannes, Orders is an understated examination of the erosion of democratic values that foresees the rise of the permanent state of emergency.
- Restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Interviews with director Michel Brault and actors Jean Lapointe, Claude Gauthier, and Louise Forestier
- On Screen – Les Ordres, a one hour television documentary on the film for Canadian television
- Les raquetteurs, Brault’s landmark short film that launched Quebec’s direct cinema movement
- Le direct avant la lettre, Denys Desjardins’ 2005 documentary on the direct cinema movement
- The October Crisis: 50 Years Onscreen, a discussion on Orders with actors Claude Gauthier and Louise Forestier, filmmaker Mathieu Denis, and documentarian Félix Rose (son of FLQ member Paul Rose)
- Action: The October Crisis of 1970 and Reaction: A Portrait of a Society in Crisis, two documentaries by Robin Spry utilizing extensive archival footage
- PLUS: New essays by Quebec film scholar André Loiselle and Canadian art critic and historian David Silcox