Rare John Coltrane Soundtrack Released: “Le Chat dans le sac”
For some 55 years Gilles Groulx’s feature “Cat in the Bag” has been recognized as a landmark in Quebec cinema. Wonderfully shot in black and white giving a gritty feel to 1964 Montreal and the wintery countryside. It also has the effect of forcing you to pay very close interaction between Barbara and Claude.
On the surface it is the story of a crumbling relationship between 19-year-old Barbara and 23-year-old Claude.
It is also the story of an intellectual Claude stuck in a rut with a stream of cynical commentary about society. He is obsessed with authors who criticize society. He can’t secure a job as a journalist as he writes about society in absolute terms and is incapable of compromise or practicality. Barbara finally becomes disillusioned with Claude as a pessimist and a man with ideas he does nothing about. She urges him to relax and have some fun with life.
There is somewhat of a political element that slips into this 1964 National Film Board film about the inequality of income for Quebeckers, lack of control of the Quebec economy by Francophones, three generations of futility and the Minister of Defence of Canada having to send troops to Montreal to protect the army barracks against attacks by separatists. And a cute line about Quebec Anglos learning French because they plan to visit Paris!
Now you’ll hear snippets of John Coltrane in the soundtrack as . Impulse Records has now released the soundtrack (named ” The Cat in the Bag, Blue World”) which is the only known film soundtrack he recorded. It will be released on September 24th.
If you want to see the film go to NFB.ca and you can watch it for free. And if you are a jazz fan note that it was recorded at Van Gelder studios in New Jersey. Rudy Van Gelder was Blue Note Record’s sound engineer for many years.