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Directed by Anne Wheeler
Canada / United Kingdom, 1986 (fiction, 98 minutes, colour, English)
Also known as "Double allégeance"
Image: © Norstar Releasing

Film Description [in French] :
"Un riche médecin arrive d'Angleterre avec sa famille et s'installe dans une petite ville du nord de l'Alberta. Malgré ses origines sociales très différentes, son épouse nourrit une grande amitié envers une femme métisse de l'endroit. L'épouse du médecin tente désespérément de garder sa famille unie, mais sa loyauté n'a plus de raison d'être quand son mari dévoile le côté diabolique de sa personnalité."
-- Noah Cowan (source)

Film Description [in French] :
"Lily Sutton est la délicatesse même [...] Rosanne Ladouceur est issue d'un toute autre société. [...] Peu à peu, en dépit de leurs profondes différences, une véritable amitié se tissera entre Lily Sutton et Rosanne Ladouceur."
-- World Film Festival / Festival des films du monde (source)

Film Description:
"Loyalties is a compelling film about the unlikely friendship between two women—Lily Sutton, an upperclass Englishwoman and Rosanne Ladouceur, a native woman who has been hired as housekeeper. Gradually they overcome barriers of race, class and nationality to forge a hardwon friendship. This drama explores the complexity of noble human traits, like loyalty and love, in conflict with a powerful argument for justice. Dr. David Sutton and his wife Lily have an argument that, unknown to them, is witnessed by their teenage son. The upshot is that they must move to a remote town in Alberta, Canada where no one knows them."
-- (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Sharon Riis, Anne Wheeler
Produced by: William Johnston, Ronald Lillie
Principal Cast: Kenneth Welsh, Tantoo Cardinal, Susan Wooldridge, Vera Martin, Christopher Barrington-Leigh, Diane Debassige, Tom Jackson, Jeffrey Smith, Meredith Rimmer, Yolanda Cardinal, Dale Willier
Cinematography: Vic Sarin
Film Editing: Judy Krupanszky
Music: Michael Conway Baker
Production Company: Loyalties Film Prods. Inc., Lauron International Inc., Dumbarton Films Ltd., Norstar Releasing

Award won by Loyalties

Notes about Loyalties


Quotes about Loyalties

"In the final shot of [Loyalties], set amid the untamed Northern Alberta landscape, Lily arrives at Beatrice and Roseanne's house with all four of her children packed in the car. The normally pristine Lily is a mess. Roseanne sees her pain and shame and instructs Lily's children to go into the house. 'Go with Kookum. She'll take care of you.' Lily says to Roseanne, 'I couldn't stay. He's still there.' Roseanne embraces Lily as a sister, one mother to another. Roseanne says, 'Don't worry about it. We got plenty of room, eh.' The two mothers are framed in a medium two-shot while they embrace. Wheeler has the women exit the frame together. Wheeler cuts to an extreme bird's-eye-view wide angle of Beatrice's dilapidated wood-frame house. Roseanne and Lily walk into the house together, arm in arm. Wheeler constructs the film's resolution in the mothers' solidarity, which has managed to cross the lines of race and class. This resolution becomes possible only when Lily refuses to be complicit in patriarchy and colonization."
-- Kathleen Cummins (source)

"When we were working on Loyalties, we were all in awe of [Anne Wheeler]. She was working with a lot of people who had never acted before and she got stuff out of us that we didn't know we had."
-- Tom Jackson (source)

"It is no exaggeration to say that Loyalties is one of the first Canadian feature films to portray Natives, not as 'imaginary Indians,' but as complex and contradictory characters who are given a progressive narrative centrality."
-- Brenda Longfellow (source)

"Like [Joyce Wieland's] The Far Shore, [Anne Wheeler's] Loyalties appropriates melodramatic generic conventions to a feminist critique, but its textual predecessors are less likely to be found among romantic melodramas than among the darker gothic romances of Jane Eyre or Rebecca."
-- Brenda Longfellow (source)

"From the outset of this esthetically small-scale but psychologically canny film, [Anne] Wheeler contrasts two women and their worlds, the economically impoverished but spiritually rich existence of Rosanne Ladouceur (Tantoo Cardinal) and her Metis family, and the spiritually empty, affluent plushiness of Lily and David and their white-on-white children."
-- Jay Scott (source)

"Loyalties is centered on the developing relationship between two seemingly quite incompatible women, who win through to friendship and solidarity simply because they are women, their growing insights into their situations (their own and each other's) gradually overcoming all the social barriers of class, race, and upbringing."
-- Robin Wood (source)

Quote about Loyalties [in French]

"Il s'agit [...] d'une oeuvre féminine par excellence. Grâce à la solide préparation technique d'Anne Wheeler, les deux femmes-auteures [Anne Wheeler et Sharon Riis] savent traduire leur vision du monde en images d'une belle qualité cinématographique. Le spectateur masculin éprouve quelque malaise devant cette vision. Il ne peut éviter l'embarrassante question : l'immense majorité de films étant écrits et réalisés par des hommes, le public féminin ne se trouve-t-il pas incommodé de la même façon, mais dans le sens inverse?"
-- André Ruszkowski (source)

Bibliography for Loyalties

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