Appeal Court's Presiding Judge Eisa Al Sharif yesterday overturned the primary judgment, one year in jail, and acquitted the 35-year-old Egyptian imam of seducing
women and urging girls to have sex with him by abusing one of the telecommunication services.
Charles Biname's Seraphin topped $8 million during its 2002/03 release; both Emile Gaudreault's Mambo Italiano ($6 million and still growing) and Jean-Francois Pouliot's Seducing Doctor Lewis ($7.7 million in Quebec even before its release in the rest of Canada) are red hot; Denys Arcand's Les Invasions barbares has already made more than $5 million and is set for its English-Canadian/American release as this editorial is being written; Eric Tessier's Sur le seuil approaches $2 million; and Louis Belanger's Gaz Bar Blues has done a decent $1-million plus.
Variety's Top 60 listing for October 20, 2003 included seven Canadian features or co-productions--Sur le seuil, Mambo Italiano, The Gospel of John, Foolproof, My Life without Me, Pere et fils, and Seducing Doctor Lewis--an all-time record.
According to Jean-Francois Pouliot, the meteoric success of his film, Seducing Doctor Lewis (La Grande Seduction), arose from the audience need it fulfills.
The positive vibe on Seducing Doctor Lewis started in May when it was screened as the closing film of the Quinzaine des Realisateurs at Cannes 2003.
Wile the indie types in the washroom liked the film, they didn't exactly give it up for Seducing Doctor Lewis.
Watching Seducing Doctor Lewis, you can easily imagine it being transposed from Quebec to Maine, or northern California.
Seducing Doctor Lewis is a culture-clash comedy recalling Bill Forsyth's 1983 film, Local Hero (a wealthy oil company executive falls under the spell of a faraway Scottish village), or more closely a film Pouliot says he didn't see until after completing Doctor Lewis, Waking Ned Devine (where the villagers try to convince a lottery official that one of them is the dead winner of a huge prize).
While some might see Seducing Doctor Lewis as yet another whimsical, feel-good picture about eccentric yokels, the movie has an undertow of pathos that deepens it.
"Reading [Scott's] script, I knew that behind every, line of humour, I would be able to bring out some form of dramatic subtext." During script rewrites of Seducing Doctor Lewis, Pouliot and Scott fine-tuned the relationship between humour and drama at the heart of their movie.