Get ready to take a journey to the ninth floor! Catherine Martin’s documentary Les dames du 9e (1998, Galafilm/NFB) now streaming on onf.ca


May 14, 2024 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

With the iconic restaurant on the ninth floor of Montreal’s Eaton Centre set to reopen to the public on May 17, the NFB is streaming Catherine Martin’s 1998 documentary Les dames du 9e (Gala Film/NFB) online at onf.ca (in French) for free. This evocative film invites us to rediscover a unique place.

Le 9e restaurant

From 1931 to 1999, this splendid art deco restaurant was a social hub, especially for women, both from Montreal and across the globe. Designed at the behest of Lady Eaton by renowned French architect Jacques Carlu—who in 1930 created a similar restaurant for Eaton’s in Toronto, now known as The Carlu—this heritage landmark recently underwent a painstaking renovation after being shuttered for 25 years.

Les dames du 9e

Filmed the year before the closing of the famed dining room, which was modeled on that of a transatlantic ocean liner, Les dames du 9e depicts waitresses who had worked there for decades, as well as women customers, many of whom were regulars who passed the tradition on to their daughters. You are cordially invited to follow in their footsteps as passengers on this journey through time.

Quote

“Eaton’s Le 9e was more than just a restaurant. It was a port of call, an escape from the humdrum, a promise of elegance. It was also a place to meet and a place of work where women mingled—both customers and waitresses, from all generations and social backgrounds. Catherine Martin’s superb documentary captures all this with finesse, intelligence and emotion, bearing witness to a bygone era that, with the restaurant about to reopen, seems destined to re-emerge.”

– Marc St-Pierre, Collection Curator, NFB

The filmmaker

Catherine Martin writes and directs all of her films. After a series of independently produced shorts, in 1998 she made her first documentary, Les dames du 9e, and followed it up in 2001 with her first dramatic feature, Mariages. She went on to direct several documentaries, including Océan (2002) and L’esprit des lieux (2006), as well as fiction films such as Dans les villes (2006), Mourning for Anna (2010) and Une jeune fille (2013). Her most recent documentary, L’éloge de l’ombre, had its theatrical release in the spring. Her films have been shown at several international festivals, including Berlin, and have won awards in Quebec, the rest of Canada, and abroad. Three of them have made the annual TIFF’s Top Ten list of Canadian films: Mariages, Océan and Mourning for Anna.

The NFB: witness to the past, alive in the present

Comprising more than 14,000 works6,500 of which are available to stream for free at nfb.ca—the NFB’s rich collection has priceless cultural value for Canadian audiences. Events captured on film serve as testimonials, enriching the present and inspiring the future, as this recent example shows. Get ready to take a journey to the ninth floor!

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