Before Daybreak is a film about how life is passed on, and about the privileged relationship people have with the land they inhabit. In her house on Providence Island, Florence performs her timeless gestures. In Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon, Simonne opens her house and heart to guests, friends, people without work. Mireille, Florence’s daughter, affirms her desire to keep living in Tête-à-la-Baleine despite the decline in fishing. Gédéon, an old fisherman, observes the universe through his fertile imagination. The passenger freighter, Nordik Express is the silent witness of the links woven by time in the immense territory of the lower North Shore of the St. Lawrence.


Award et mentions 

Nominated by the Association Québécoise des Critiques de Cinéma for best feature-length documentary.

Nominated for best documentary, Jutra awards, Montréal, 2000

Best feature-length documentary, Hot Docs, Toronto, May, 2000

Selected for competition, Visions du réel, Nyon documentary festival, May, 2000

Competition, Trento Film Festival, May, 2001

Textes et critiques 

“Lucie Lambert’s film literally emerges from the night. A projector cuts out patches of light on the sea and some rocks. A boat is approaching terra firma. A woman’s voice narrates her nighttime confinement. (…) Avant le jour consists of an interlacing of voices, characters, the violence of the sea, an unshakeable boat cutting through the waves, port activities and scenes of daily life. Everything is open to the infinity of the sea and at the same time withdrawn in the intimacy of the private domain; these territories that the film-maker explores in their inextricable links are on the lower North Coast, on the edge of the inhabited areas of Quebec’s Farth North. (…)

This film resolutely belongs to the new independent Quebec cinema which, unlike its forbears, starts out with a deconstruction of reality shots to constitute a synthetic and personal vision. This vision is fuelled here by the keen curiosity of Serge Giguère’s camera, who knows how to focus on places and positions that lend more density to the overall texture of the film.” — Jean Perret, Artistic director of “Visions du réel”

“Lucie Lambert captures the serene determination of this small community’s inhabitants threatened by cod fishing problems, unemployment and isolation. Beating to the rhythm of their lives, her work is beautiful and raw.” — Georges Privet – VOIR


35 mm coulor, 93 minutes, 1999

Direction / Lucie Lambert

Assisted by Nadine Beaudet

Production / Sylvain L’Espérance

With / Florence Monger, Simonne Cormier, Mireille Monger and her children, Gédéon Dumas

Cinematography / Serge Giguère

Assisted by François Vincelette

Sound / Diane Carrière

Editing / René Roberge

Sound editing / Martin Allard, Hugo Brochu

Music / Yves Desrosiers