Canada Cinematography Part IV

By | December 25, 2021

Anglophone cinema during the seventies was gradually ‘Americanizing’ and homologating to Hollywood commercial standards. Producer Harold Greenberg established a privileged relationship with the US market, ensuring that the tax incentives for cinema, adopted by the government in 1974, and an increase (which he himself implemented with private funds) of the contribution of the SDICC (which in the meantime had established economic interaction with the television structures that led it to be called Téléfilm Canada in 1984) were to the full advantage of an English-speaking production that looked to the US market. Therefore, Canadian actors who moved to Hollywood, such as Donald Sutherland or Alexandra Stuart, were called to work at home. Just as he returned from abroad to the country of originated director Ted Kotcheff to shoot a bittersweet story set in Montreal, The apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974; Money at all costs) which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. But where Anglo-Canadian cinema then took on its own specificity, it was, until the 1960s, in the experience of the Underground. Michael Snow’s experimental cinema, his conceptual intransigence and his work on sound-visual perceptiveness constituted a linguistic lesson continued in Canada by other research filmmakers, eg. Bruce Elder with a philosophical-cinematographic cycle such as The book of all the dead (1988). But where Anglo-Canadian cinema then took on its own specificity, it was, until the 1960s, in the experience of the Underground. Michael Snow’s experimental cinema, his conceptual intransigence and his work on sound-visual perceptiveness constituted a linguistic lesson continued in Canada by other research filmmakers, eg. Bruce Elder with a philosophical-cinematographic cycle such as The book of all the dead (1988). But where Anglo-Canadian cinema then took on its own specificity, it was, until the 1960s, in the experience of the Underground. Michael Snow’s experimental cinema, his conceptual intransigence and his work on sound-visual perceptiveness constituted a linguistic lesson continued in Canada by other research filmmakers, eg. Bruce Elder with a philosophical-cinematographic cycle such as The book of all the dead (1988). For Canada 2002, please check commit4fitness.com.

A massive dose of experimentalism and a sophisticated use of new technologies and computer graphics were also found in the 1970s in the Canadian school of animation film which, thanks to McLaren’s artistic teaching, had developed with great inventiveness and quality with authors such as Arthur Lipsett, Caroline Leaf, Paul Driessen, Gerald Potterton.

The documentary school, starting from the 1960s, received new impetus thanks to prominent personalities who, in addition to probing the cultural roots of the country, oriented their work towards a socio-political investigation, such as Donald Brittain, Bernard Gosselin and above all P Perrault, one of the highest voices in Francophone documentary making. Over the years, his works have explored the complex realities of many regions, with an attention to the independentist demands of Québec, or to the anthropological substratum, as in the material shot, over time, in the Antibi region and elaborated in the 1977 in Le goût de la farine and in 1980 in Pays de la terre sans arbres. On the more political side of the documentary, Les ordres (1974), filmed by Brault during the October 1970 revolt in Montreal, is significant.

In the French-speaking world, Anne-Claire Poirer promoted the series on the condition of women in the history of Québec, En tant que femmes (1973-1975). In fiction, the themes of female identity have been tackled with delicate sensitivity by directors such as Léa Pool with À corps perdu (1988) and Emporte-moi (1998) and Patricia Rozema with I’ve heard the mermaids singing (1987; I heard le sirene sing), Anne Wheeler with Loyalties (1985; Dangerous Affections), Sandy Wilson with My American cousin (1984). Even a director among the most gifted with style and subtlety, such as William Mac Gillivray, reflected on the condition of women, and at the same time on the more general theme of Canadian identity, in a significant film such as Life classes (1990).

Despite the important results, the Canadian film industry had entered into crisis again starting from 1976. The 1977 cinema law disposed of bureaucratic hindrances that slowed production, the public gradually deserted the cinemas, and the exhibitors privileged, to face the crisis , almost exclusively American films, a mechanism that ended up further aggravating the crisis of the national industry. Since 1982, a series of appropriate government initiatives have allowed the industry to recover. In a short time, thanks to direct funding to the various producer corporations, the situation improved and new ideas started to circulate again, making the new Canadian directors known not only in international festivals, but also on the foreign market. Jean-Claude Lauzon made himself appreciated with Un zoo la nuit (1987; Zoo at night) and Léolo (1992), examples of postmodern and hyper-realistic aesthetics, with a dark and hallucinatory atmosphere. François Girard, with 32 short films about Glenn Gould (1993; 32 short films about Glenn Gould) and the international co-production The red violin (1998; The red violin), has poured his musical passions into complex narrative structures. The avant-garde theater director R. Lepage with Le polygraphe (1996), Nô (1998), Possible worlds (2000) has transposed on the screen a remarkable capacity for visual invention and a theatrical reflection on the ambiguity between life and representation. The couple Robert Morin-Lorrain Dufour has elaborated a very personal mix between video and cinema, between fiction and documentary, which in Quiconque meurt, meurt à douleur (1998), on the universe of drugs, finds the most interesting example. Directors such as Yves Simoneau and Christian Duguay have worked, with a certain expressionist and visionary talent, in the thriller and science fiction genre. But it was the Armenian-born director Atöm Egoyan the author who in the nineties developed the most singular poetics, centered on disturbing climates, characters with ambiguous identity and intrigues pervaded by mystery, conquering international prestige with his films, from The adjuster (1991) to Felicia’s journey (1999; Felicia’s journey). Young, promising filmmakers refer to the sense of mystery and ambiguity: Peter Mettler (The top of his head, 1989), Don McKellar (Last night, 1998);

During the Eighties and Nineties, thanks to filmmakers such as John Greyson or Jacques Godbout, documentarism progressively detached itself from the direct cinema modules to take more experimental paths, often doing without words or comments and relying on the contamination of languages. of sound materials, of points of view. He also reflected on the role and power of the media in society, and on the interaction between the arts, as in the collective series (which was attended by, among others, Egoyan, Rozema, Girard) Yo-Yo Ma: Inspired by Bach (1997 ; Six suites for cello) or in the works of Ron Mann (Poetry in motion, 1982; Twist, 1992). The tradition of animation has confirmed its vitality in recent years with the works of Frédéric Back (Crac !, 1981) or Pierre Hébert (La plante humaine, 1997).

Canadian cinema has finally taken on its own physiognomy, a ‘plural identity’, also through the diversity and facets of genres and styles.

Canada Cinematography Part IV