A feeling of loss was evident among those who went to the Excentris Complex in Montreal on Sunday to pay tribute to Quebec film entrepreneur and philanthropist Daniel Langlois and his partner Dominque Marchand.
“This couple was very discreet, very humble, but they did a lot,” Montreal mayor Valérie Plante told reporters outside the establishment after she paid her tribute.
Both Langlois and Marchard were found lifeless in a burnt vehicle on the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica early in December. Two men have been charged with their murder.
Montrealers who knew Langlois say they were horrified by the sudden death.
“He would have had so much more to contribute, I’m sure,” said Pierre Jasmin, president of Les Artistes pour la Paix. “He was such an exceptional artist.”
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In 1999, Langlois founded Excentris, a state-of-the-art movie house, to support alternative cinema and give a platform to art house films. Fans of the cinema note that the film entrepreneur’s vision was progressive, believing that to be his most lasting legacy.
Excentris cinema faced financial difficulties and has been closed since 2015. The building now houses schools, but people remember the spot as a meeting place for cinema lovers and some, including the Montreal mayor, still have fond memories.
“I used to come here a lot and one of the first dates I had with my husband, and we’ve been together for 26 years now, was here,” she said.
People who knew Langlois also praised his ability to pair art with technology, evidenced with his launch of Softimage, where 3D animation was developed for many notable movies.
“It started with Jurassic Park, and Lord of the Rings and all these great films,” former Excentris artistic director Denis Laramée said.
Langlois and Marchand were involved in many charities and opened a luxury ecotourism resort in Dominica. Langlois also started a foundation in his name to support technology and the arts.
“He was a man [with a] vision and we’re going to miss him for, for a long time,” said Laramée.
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