Chez Lise had its premiere on October 15, 2013, at the Montreal's 42nd Festival de nouveau cinema
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Chez Lise will be playing in the ImagéSanté - Festival International du Film de Santé - in Liège, Belgium, from March 17 to 22, 2014.
Deanna and Gordon are lovers with dreams like the rest of us: an apartment, a job, and the chance to be together. She has learning difficulties, a bipolar disorder and diabetes; he suffers from severe schizophrenia.
They have no family but at Chez Lise they have found stability, and in Lise Bissonnette, the no-nonsense, 70-year-old owner, a surrogate mother.
Lise is landlady, mediator and mother to all of her tenants, half of whom suffer from mental illness. There are disputes, drug abuses, strikes and other problems but she handles everything with stoic determination, working morning to night, seven days a week.
Over the period of a year, from Christmas 2011 to Christmas 2012, Jeanne Pope and James Galwey followed Lise, Deanna and Gordon, mostly as flies on the wall but occasionally as active participants in their complex and sometimes stormy relationship. Part love story, part rare insight into the lives of people on society’s margins, the film also pays homage to Lise herself, whose tirelessness, goodwill and optimism are as rare as they are admirable.