Backyard Theatre is a documentary about playwright Michel Tremblay and director André Brassard’s flavourful brand of Quebec theatre, which captured the earthy wit and joual (slang) of Montreal's East End working-class neighbourhood. The film features impromptu improvisation by the cast of Les belles-soeurs and Demain matin, Montréal m'attend, two genre-defining plays.
This documentary invites you to join acclaimed playwright David Fennario for a performance of his funny and touching one-man play Banana Boots.
The film recounts Fennario’s memories of Montreal’s Verdun and Point Saint-Charles districts, follows him on a journey to Belfast for the Irish premiere of his hit play Balconville, and details his move from major theatrical performances to community theatre, where he sought to "create theatre that can be used to fight back."
This short documentary profiles Canadian actor Christopher Plummer of the Shakespearean Theater, best known as The Sound of Music’s Captain von Trapp. In his dressing room, Plummer dons his make-up and prepares to enter stage as Cyrano de Bergerac.
The NFB's 11th Oscar®-nominated film.
This short film depicts how a small Canadian city, bearing the name of Stratford and by a river Avon, created its own renowned Shakespearean theatre. The film tells how the idea grew, how a famous British director, international stars and Canadian talent were recruited, and how the Stratford Shakespearean Festival finally became a triumphant reality.
For more background information about this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
This feature-length film tells the story of the passion between Marie de l’Incarnation, a mid-seventeenth-century nun and God, her "divine spouse." Fusing documentary and acting by Marie Tifo, whom we follow as she rehearses for this demanding role, the film paints an astonishing portrait of this mystic who abandoned her son and left France to build a convent in Canada, where she became the first female writer in New France.
In this documentary short, Canadian mime Guy Hoffman, acting as Pierrot, introduces us to the art of pantomime. The streets of Montreal and the Belmont Amusement Park are the backdrop for the traditional story of Pierrot, who loses his love, Columbine, to Harlequin.
The NFB’s 72nd Oscar®-nominated film.
In 1909, a dapper young remittance man is sent from England to Alberta to attempt ranching. However, his affection for badminton, bird watching and liquor leaves him little time for wrangling cattle. It soon becomes clear that nothing in his refined upbringing has prepared him for the harsh conditions of the New World. This animated short is about the beauty of the prairie, the pang of being homesick and the folly of living dangerously out of context.
This documentary introduces us to Mark Rowswell, a Canadian comedian virtually unknown in his own country who has an enormous following in mainland China, where he is known as Dashan.
The film provides a unique look at China through the eyes of a man who has become fully at home in Chinese culture—his appearances on national television have been known to draw up to 600 million viewers. It shows Rowswell performing, talking about his art and popularity, and discussing the West’s role in the development of the new China.
This feature documentary by Jacques Godbout retraces the life of Hubert Aquin, one of Quebec's most brilliant writers. The film revolves around 2 episodes in Aquin's life: the dramatic events leading up to the publication of his first novel, and the anguish of the months preceding his suicide. (Aquin ended his life in 1977.) An unusual montage technique intercuts excerpts from a feature film in which he was the lead actor with the recollections of people who knew him well.
This feature film is a different portrait of Ottawa, as transfigured by the loving but provocative gaze of well-known Francophone writer Daniel Poliquin. In his novels, the national capital metamorphoses, like the dreaded rat that supposedly changed into the city's ubiquitous black squirrel in a bid to win our affection. Alternating reality and fiction, the film reveals another Ottawa through the dreams and desires of his novels' characters - all portrayed by Poliquin himself.
This feature-length documentary focuses on acclaimed novelist, playwright, essayist, political gadfly, and practicing doctor, Jacques Ferron. Using a combination of fiction and biography, the filmmaker takes viewers on a pilgrimage into the life and fictional world of the prolific author. The film reveals a complex and appealing man who was a Quebec nationalist, an ironic polemicist, and an anguished humanist devoted to social and political justice.
This informal black-and-white portrait of Leonard Cohen shows him at age 30 on a visit to his hometown of Montreal, where the poet, novelist and songwriter comes "to renew his neurotic affiliations." He reads his poetry to an enthusiastic crowd, strolls the streets of the city, relaxes in this three-dollar-a-night hotel room and even takes a bath.