When a street, neighbourhood or city is mythologized, its private spaces are torn open for the world to see. Stories might be just that—stories—but they have a way of humanizing the people that might otherwise be strangers. That’s what Mordecai Richler did for St. Urbain Street and Montreal’s old Jewish neighbourhood, which includes much of Mile End, with his fiction. The Street, a collection of semi-fictional stories and vignettes, is one of my favourite books of his because it focuses so singularly on the 1940s-era life of St. Urbain. In this short 1976 National Film Board film, animator Caroline Leaf captures the essence of that life.
Tags: Mile End, Montreal, Mordecai Richler, National Film Board