Valérie (1969), the first of a group of erotic films now known as "maple-syrup porno," launched the career of director Denis HÉROUX. Shot in black and white, it tells the story of a convent girl (Danielle Ouimet) who joins the hippy culture of Montréal and becomes a prostitute before finding true love with a man prepared to forget her past.
The key to the film's success with Québec audiences was that it was never nasty, smutty or oppressive. In fact, Valérie's carefree spirit had positive cultural/political overtones. She was seen to represent the new modernity of Québec made possible by the QUIET REVOLUTION. Valérie had a lightness of tone, a 1960s innocence and sense of pleasure, at the time a welcome antidote to the downbeat docudramas coming from the NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA.
Valérie grossed more than $1 million, which made it the top domestic box-office film of its time.