Bittersweet Memories (film)

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Bittersweet Memories
Directed by Denise Filiatrault
Produced by Daniel Louis
Denise Robert
Written by Denise Filiatrault
Starring Pascale Bussières
Michel Barrette
Distributed by Alliance Atlantis Vivafilm
Release dates
  • December 2004 (2004-12)
Running time
105 minutes
Country Canada
Language French

Bittersweet Memories (French: Ma vie en cinémascope; lit. My Life in Cinemascope) is a Quebec, Canada film released in 2004. This biographical drama depicted the career of Quebec singer Alys Robi, as portrayed by Pascale Bussières. The film makes use of flashback sequences in order to connect her childhood, adolescence and adulthood to her later emotional crisis.


As a young girl, Alice was taken to public places and told to sing by her father. At age 13, she wants independence from her father, who she thinks is using her to gain fame.

She wants to go to Montreal alone to make it big. She joins a theater troop led by a Mme Ouellet, nicknamed La Poune. She informs the troop that she will now be going by Alys Robi, stating that the “y” looks more artistic.

She receives an offer to join Jean Grimaldi’s comedy show, which allows her to meet his son Olivier. During one scene when Olivier sings, Alys comes over to him and begins kissing him. However, a stage crew worker unveils a set of Christian statues, including one depicting Mary holding Jesus’s bloody body after being taken down from the cross. Alys immediately remembers what the priest said in Church about sins of the flesh and lust – that offenders will burn in hell. She stops then. However, this doesn’t faze her quite enough, and they continually make love even though Olivier is a married man.

Alys is refused absolution of these sins by a priest during confession (Thou shalt not desire unless in matrimony). She suffers from a nervous system breakdown as a result of this. Olivier comes and breaks her out of this locked-in syndrome saying that she needs to stop fighting her feelings and thinking that God will punish her.

In 1939, France and England declare war on Germany at the start of World War II. This begins an emergency mobilization of Montreal regiments.

After five and a half years in the asylum and one successful lobotomy later, Alys Robi was released and went back to performing music.


The film won 5 Jutra Awards (Quebec cinema honours). Pascale Bussières won a Genie Award (Canadian cinema honours) as Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.

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