Goodbye filters and spangles. Quart de vie is a girls’ series that busts the usual cliches. Far from the search for the ideal boyfriend and beautiful home, in this series the main characters are lost, the situations chaotic, and the language coarse. And, behind the camera, a band of wacky girls.
In Quart de vie, we follow the trials of Ariane, who’s just dumped her life in the suburbs and moved to Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal. Lost, penniless, and looking for a place to stay, she meets Constance and Bam, two roommates who, like her, are in search of balance in their lives. Far from the world depicted in Sex and the City, this wild trio is not concerned with beautiful clothes or the latest trendy restaurant – they’re simply trying to survive their crisis together.
This is a situation that Kadidja Haïdara, who is the writer of the web series, knows well. To write Quart de Vie, the writer used her own survival experience as a student. “My roommate and I didn’t have a budget, so we’d go to Jean Coutu and get masks for 99 cents and we’d watch TV drinking plonk. Which was very different from the situations depicted in girls’ series at the time, where all the girls were rich without ever having to work,” she points out.
To give the series its edge, the story was designed, developed and produced for the web. “Making a web series really gives you more latitude and freedom, including things like the length of each episode and the content,” says director Marie-Claude Blouin. “We can go off on all sorts of tangents.”
Halfway between a conventional series and a sitcom, each episode stands alone, but the characters continue to evolve throughout the series. “We write every eposide very quickly. It’s practically improvisation,” says Kadidja, whose imagined world wowed the whole team. “Since we’re all working together right from the writing stage, we know where we’re going and we have a blast. Then we shoot only 8 to 10 days per season, because it’s a dynamic and fluid process. The creative process flows naturally, and we’re all involved,” states Vicky Bounadère, who is the producer of the series. So much so in fact that the actors try to influence the writing process.
The irreverent tone and absurdist humour, which are the hallmarks of Quart de vie, are encouraged by the series’ broadcaster, Tou.tv. It was Kadidja’s intent to infuse her message with humour. “We disparage baby showers, talk about prostitution, pornography, the characters speak their minds. Sometimes we wonder if we’re going too far, but Tou.tv encourages us to push the concept,” says Vicky.