Pierre Perrault

  Pierre Perrault, film director, poet (b at Montréal 29 June 1927, d at Île-aux-Coudes 23 June 1999). After working for Radio-Canada, he co-directed the series "Au pays de Neufve-France" and then made a debut in film at the National Film Board with Michel BRAULT in Pour la suite du monde (1963), a classic of direct cinema. Still with the NFB, he directed Le Règne du jour (1966) and Les Voitures d'eau (1968), which form a trilogy with the 1963 film. He then turned to 2 controversial issues, Québec separatism (Un Pays sans bon sens, 1970) and the fate of the Acadians (L'Acadie, l'Acadie, 1971).

These were followed by series on the Abitibi region: Un Royaume vous attend (1975), Le Retour à la terre (1976), Gens d'Abitibi (1980), C'était un québecois en Bretagne, madame (1977); and American Indians: Le Goût de la farine (1976), Le Pays de la terre sans arbre ou le Mouchouânipi (1980). In 1982 his film about hunting (La Bête lumineuse) had an enormous emotional impact on Québec audiences. He then chose Saint-Malo, France, birthplace of Jacques CARTIER, as the setting for Les Voiles bas et en travers (1983) and his next film, La Grande allure I-II (1985).

Since 1990, Perrault has turned his attention to the far north of Québec, to the region of the 80th parallel. He made a poetic film on the tundra and the musk-ox, L'Oumigmag ou l'Objectif documentaire (1993), in which for the first time he did not film humans or give them dialogue. Instead, his commentary reflects on the documentary genre. The following year, he made the musk-ox the sole subject of Cornouailles.

Perrault retired from the NFB in 1996. A major director of non-fiction cinema, Perrault was a master of words and a skilful interpreter of the human soul. He was awarded honorary doctorates by Laval in 1986 and Lyon II in 1995, and in 1994 he won the Albert-Tessier Prize. In 1998 he received the National Order of Québec. In addition to literary works, Perrault has published several books on the cinema and analytical texts of the soundtracks of most of his films.

Suggested Screening: Les traces du rêve (Jean-Daniel Lafond, 1986).