Cinema As History: Michel Brault and Modern Quebec
The Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFFG), Pages Books and Magazines and This Is Not A Reading Series proudly present André Loiselle in conversation with legendary filmmaker Michel Brault to celebrate the release of his Cinema As History: Michel Brault and Modern Quebec.
With a career spanning more than five decades, director and cinematographer Michel Brault is one of the most influential figures in Québécois cinema. Cinema as History: Michel Brault and Modern Quebec is André Loiselle’s study of his life and his work. Brault’s early works, including Les Raquetteurs (co-directed with Gilles Groulx) and Pour la Suite du Monde (co-directed with Pierre Perrault) reflected a hitherto unacknowledged and unfulfilled need on the part of Québécois society to see their own culture reflected onscreen—and helped spark a cultural renaissance in Quebec. His 1974 fiction feature Les Ordres, which deals with the FLQ crisis and the invocation of the War Measures Act by then prime minister Pierre Trudeau, has consistently been listed as one of the best Québécois and Canadian films. Brault’s work as cinematographer has been equally essential, with groundbreaking films like Claude Jutra’s Mon Oncle Antoine (1971) and Francis Mankiewicz’s Les Bons Débarras (1980). He was a key contributor to the development of the cinema-verité movement, serving as cinematographer on French director Jean Rouch’s legendary Chronique dun Été (1961).
André Loiselle’s study of Brault’s work and career moves beyond traditional auteurist studies to explore how Brault’s work reflected (and in some cases helped instigate) changes in Quebec society over four decades. More than any other filmmaker, Brault managed to capture the culture’s zeitgeist.
André Loiselle teaches film studies at Carleton University, Ottawa. His main areas of research are Canadian and Québécois cinema, screen adaptations of drama, and the horror film. He has published half a dozen books, including Le Cinéma de Michel Brault, à l’image d’une nation (2005). He is currently working on a new book project provisionally entitled Stage to Scream: The Performance of Villainy in Theatre and Film.