Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors
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One of the first of these filmmakers was Albert Tessier, whose work is considered a precursor of direct cinema. His goal was to promote the beauty of nature, traditional rural life and nationalism. Being an agronomy professor, many of his films dealt with agriculture and more generally, rural life. After being fired in , he produced industrial and historic films, and shot many feature length documentaries in the late s and early s depicting the activities of convent communities. He paved the way for all filmmakers who turned their camera towards Aboriginal peoples in Canada from the s until today.
Their films, in addition to their undeniable cinematic qualities, contribute valuable ethnographic documentation. Its mandate was to meet certain propaganda and educational needs, but it was ill-equipped to do so with a minimum of staff while working only in 16mm. The NFB did not have these constraints, but in the early years it was primarily an anglophone organization. Under the circumstances, Vincent Paquette, Jean Palardy and a few others did heroic work.
It achieved its best results when reacting to some specific event; Les Reportages was a noteworthy series that began offering biweekly newsreels in French in September This film helped create a new, vertically-integrated industry, with international contacts and religious support both financial and ideological.
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This psychological thriller did not achieve the commercial success the producers had hoped for. The US film industry at the time was in poor shape, and QP had to modify its aspirations and be content with local markets. The company therefore drew on the highly popular subject matter of radio dramas for its next three films — Their relative success did inspire several other smaller outfits to produce a total of seven feature films, two of them in English and most of them adapted from theatrical dramas.
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Television dealt a fatal blow to an industry made vulnerable by its mediocrity. Today, these films have great value as social documents. Its films seem to defend the traditional social order, especially the role of the clergy, but a closer look reveals the contrary. They and the NFB "old-timers" finally had opportunities worthy of their talents.
This explosion was the result of three developments. Second, in , public attention focused on francophone filmmakers who were not being given the same opportunities as their anglophone colleagues. The result was that French and English productions were separated administratively and financially, leading ultimately to the creation of a distinct francophone studio. Third, TV demanded large amounts of material, which meant that both popular entertainment and artistic innovation received as much support as films for government departments and educational institutions e.
Filmmakers were also pushing the technological limitations, trying to improve their equipment and its capacity to capture natural sound and images while on location. A documentary genre that merged technological achievements e. This period was one of profound social change. Duplessis died in ; the Liberals came to power in and the Quiet Revolution began. Les Raquetteurs went beyond picturesque scenes to stress membership in a national community. The former, through its technique and the importance it gave to the spoken word, marked another major step in the development of direct cinema.
The latter was an example of films being produced by nationalistic filmmakers throughout the world and was a personal statement by Jutra.
Groulx's Le Chat dans le sac was one of the best films to that time about petit-bourgeois youth. Ferment and change were occurring in all aspects of the arts, and film forms evolved to meet the needs of the filmmakers. Direct cinema in all its variations, auteur films documentary or docudrama and every genre of commercial film were attempted. Yet direct cinema was not limited to nationalistic subjects.
Some producers wanted to use the techniques for social action films. Between Perrault's approach and that of the activist films arose many other forms of direct cinema, united only by their technique and their methods. This kind of film moved steadily to the forefront.
Another significant figure in the late s and early s was director-cameraman Labrecque, who had a talent for grasping the mood and significance of an event, and to convey the feeling of having been there. The documentary movement began to falter at the beginning of the s, partly because some of its practitioners Labrecque, Gosselin, and especially Brault and Groulx were attracted by the possibilities of fiction film. Groulx, on the other hand, went exactly the opposite way in both style and content, offering a clear personal statement for discussion and criticism. His films illustrated his mastery at integrating documentary and fiction at the editing stage.
Fiction moved away from direct cinema and won new adherents for a second reason. In the CFDC was born, and with it avenues of financing. These two factors opened the way for commercial filmmaking and explain the production boom of the s. This boom in commercial films soon ran into trouble, made even worse by foreign control of the key sectors of distribution. Some commercial films overcame the problems of quality versus commercial viability. Gilles Carle knew how to lace his films with humour and sex, ideology and social colour, showmanship and stars, making them much more interesting than most of the others in his field.
With his fifth feature, La Vraie Nature de Bernadette , Carle won lasting international acclaim. Others also knew how to combine quality with commercial success. The trailblazer of this kind was Jean Beaudin 's tender and simple period film, J. Martin, photographe Jean Pierre Lefebvre dominated the genre of the personal statement film for 15 years, with 18 very important features to his credit. His work evolved from two fundamental approaches to filmmaking: the first, social, concrete, reflective and critical; the second, abstract, symbolic and intimate.
Jacques Leduc , who concentrated on nondramatic moments of daily life and the state of the soul, belonged to that same generation of filmmakers.
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Leduc's work, marginal yet high-profile, belonged both to the school of direct cinema On est loin du soleil , and to fiction Chronique de la vie quotidienne , — A group of women filmmakers within the NFB produced En tant que femmes —74 , a series of films, some documentary and some fictional, about issues that concerned women. The NFB series encouraged film production by women. Direct films began to explore uncharted territory e.
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The work was much more important than its numerical output would indicate, and was a sign of awakening, renewal and dynamism. Another kind of dynamism in the s originated with young filmmakers who concentrated more on individual, even marginal, problems than on social ones. An exception to this is the astonishing Les Plouffe by Gilles Carle, in which historical authenticity is matched by emotional accuracy.
The number of private productions was declining dangerously; even the NFB faced cutbacks. The CFDC and the SGC were mainly interested in a profitable, commercial film industry based on international markets, and leaned heavily in this direction with the films of the tax shelter era see The History of the Canadian Film Industry. However, this is not always compatible with filmmakers' definitions of a national film industry. Direct and documentary filmmaking decreased, even at the NFB. The film genre that most clearly reflected the conflict between the commercial interests of the industry, and the artistic and political concerns of filmmakers, was the documentary.
The emergence of new directors also breathed life into production. Inspired by Arcand, older filmmakers caught a second wind.
It should be noted that unlike other retired filmmakers who turned to television or were having great difficulty financing their projects, Forcier persevered, completing, often with budget problems, works that were original and marvelous, imbued with the absurd, fantastical and the imaginary. Films for children opened the door for another important director, Roger Cantin, who specialized in fantasy movies Matusalem , ; La forteresse suspendue , Commercial practices in the s and s went off in all directions. Francophones directed films in English hoping to penetrate the international market, and television became a regular, if not committed, production partner.
It became increasingly common to find film directors making popular television series.
source site The s saw the NFB radically transformed by several developments: the retirement of many of the filmmakers who brought it renown; the role played by Telefilm in granting huge amounts to television production; SODEC's increasing reliance on industry and its preoccupation with distribution abroad; and the means adopted by independent filmmakers who tried to survive in a world where video often seemed the only practical approach.
Film practices were changing. Film itself was disappearing and being replaced by digital formats; and the means of consumption were multiplying. Dutton, Cinema was invented in the fourth century BC with the Myth of the Cave, a thought experiment illustrating the hard-won virtues of education via a parable of perception and knowledge. The question of whether we should believe our eyes or any of our senses is dramatised in a setting that uncannily predicts cinema.
The Cave is the first work of film theory, and considerably more readable than most examples of the genre written since. In his clarity of expression and the way he develops theoretical ideas from specific examples, Bazin was a truly great writer on cinema.