Sandrine Bisson is terrific in the new offering of Club illico Raspberry timePhilippe Falardeau’s first TV production.

The actress can, in the same scene, laugh, cry, go into raptures or become impatient, transmitting the emotion like no other. She brings all the energy we know her to this fiction written by Florence Longpré (Audrey came back) and Suzie Bouchard.

“In this writing, I often had my buzz, I really had fun suffering,” said Sandrine Bisson, causing widespread laughter around the table on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the viewing of the two first episodes.

The one we knew thanks to the movies nineteen eighty one, 1987 and 1991 by Ricardo Trogi plays Elisabeth, a woman in midlife crisis who inherits the family farm following the sudden death of her husband John (Anthony Lemke). The couple, who were not doing well, have two children, one of whom is deaf. Spanish-speaking seasonal workers work on the farm and, although they are not abused, they remain strangers to Elisabeth at the start of the 10-episode series.

Several dimensions related to our inability or our difficulty in communicating with people we meet on a daily basis are explored by the authors and the director. The latter had the idea for this project in 2005 while he was filming Congorama.

Philippe Falardeau, who says he is a “broken screenwriter”, is delighted to have “had the scriptwriting workshop [qu’il] had never had” by collaborating with the two authors. For him, the series shot in Havelock, in Montérégie, is “funny and dramatic simultaneously”. We can’t contradict it because we go through the whole range of emotions while watching this production, unique in Quebec, because French, English, Spanish and sign language rub shoulders.

Florence Longpré explained that the youngest’s deafness makes it possible to add material “to this kind of whirlwind, of chaos of communication and non-communication. It’s one more language, and it’s one of the only characters who feels things, who listens, who absorbs them. […] He is more into listening than the others”. The young Xavier Chalifoux, a deaf and dumb actor, is doing well in the role of William, his first acting experience.


Raspberry time explores the psychological distress of farmers, in addition to showing that seasonal workers, essential on many farms, are not always treated adequately. One of them is played by Edison Ruiz, who we saw recently in Narcos: Mexico City on Netflix.

“There are a lot of barriers, prejudices, racism, mistreatment […] and it’s been in front of us for so long,” said Florence Longpré, who contracted COVID-19 in Cannes last week, where her series Audrey came backalso available on Club illico, won two international awards.

Presented as a world premiere at the close of the 72and Berlinale, in addition to being in competition at Séries Mania in the Panorama International section, Raspberry time has a resolutely cinematographic bill and we take the time to set things up.

Elisabeth’s in-laws, who are of English origin, will give the widow a lot of trouble. The latter will only be able to count on her sons and seasonal workers to tame the life of a farmer. The mother, Martha (Micheline Lanctôt), has several children: John – who died when no one knew he had esophageal cancer –, Denis (Paul Doucet), Rachel (Ellen David), Peggy (Kathleen Stavert ), Estelle (Nicole Leroux) and Maureen (Anne Beaudry). The latter would do well to think before opening her mouth.

Singer-songwriter and arranger Martin Léon signs the music for the series, he who has collaborated on several occasions with Philippe Falardeau for his films, including My Salinger Year and Guibord is going to war. The production also acquired the rights to several songs.

Produced by Trio Orange, the series Raspberry time is available from Thursday on Club illico.

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