Documentary “Silence”: a voice to victims abused by priests

“I wanted to shout but there is no voice coming out”. This shocking sentence, pronounced in The silence by one of the many victims of the pedophile priest Lévi Noël, perfectly sums up the disturbing reality described in this hard-hitting and necessary documentary by Acadian filmmaker Renée Blanchar.

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In theaters since Friday, The silence looks back on the many cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by priests on young boys in New Brunswick. In her film, Renée Blanchar gives voice to the victims of these pedophile priests, but above all she tries to understand the causes of the collective silence which has allowed these attackers to continue to crack down for decades without being reprimanded by their superiors.

“The first event that caught my attention was in 2012, when men from Cap-Pelé removed the sign from the front of the arena that bore Camille Léger’s name because they said they had been assaulted. sexually by this priest. It’s a reality we already knew existed but it was a shock for me to find out that it had been happening so close to home and for so long. ”

Like a thriller

It was only a few years later that Renée Blanchar decided to address this problem in a documentary. The trigger, for her, was to learn that the priest Yvon Arsenault, to whom she had given the floor 20 years earlier in her film Household vocation, was also accused of pedophile acts.

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“It was from then that this subject started to obsess me,” she says.

“Because I had filmed this man in my first auteur documentary, I felt that I too carried a form of silence. I wanted to tell this story the way it revealed to me. There is a thriller side to the film because every time you think you’ve figured something out, you always discover something worse behind it. The film has become a kind of thriller towards a truth. But this truth will always be partial because there will always be silences that will endure. ”

The silence premiered Friday in Montreal, Quebec and Sherbrooke.

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