This was the name given to French-Canadian neighbourhoods that sprung up around textile mills in New England. Historian Richard Santerre and the family of Rita Paquin talk about their lives and how song nights have managed to preserve a certain Quebec heritage to this day.
Le son des Français d'Amérique Series (English Version)
This feature documentary pays homage to the special character of an enduring people: the Acadians. Two hundred years after Expulsion of the Acadians by the British (1755–1764), Acadian culture is still very much alive. But why do Acadians—whose ancestors founded the first colony in North America—have to keep making a racket to tell the world they're still here?
Louisiana's Creole culture helped shape the New World and contributed to the emergence of jazz. But what remains of this unique, mixed-race society, with roots in France, Africa, the Caribbean, Spain and America? Maroon searches for the origins of this little-understood and endangered culture and show how it is doing today. In this second part of his La piste Amérique series, documentary filmmaker André Gladu continues his exploration of the Francophone presence in North America. Maroon is a vibrant travelogue that goes back into history in order to shed light on the present. In French with English subtitles.
This feature documentary uses music to reveal the many faces of jazz, New Orleans style. Colourful and alive with music, the film captures the street life and traditions of this vibrant city and explores the roots of the music that springs from the soul of the African-American community.
Taking the form of a conversation between a young teacher at a French school in Moncton and her students, the film shows how hard it is for francophones to preserve their language in a society where English is everywhere and has been for centuries. In French with English subtitles.
This feature-length documentary is the unrehearsed story of what happened when old-timers from Île-aux-Coudres, a small island in the St. Lawrence River, were persuaded to revive a local whale-catching practice. Through the magic of words and the mystery of the catch, the film uncovers a spirituality rooted in the moon and the rhythm of the tides. More than a documentary, it is a fresco of the myths and legends among the traditional fishing communities of Quebec. In French with English subtitles.
This film was made by Pierre Perrault, Michel Brault and Marcel Carrière.
For more background info on this film, visit the NFB.ca blog.
This short documentary records the celebration and ritual surrounding a snowshoe competition in Sherbrooke in the late 1950s. The film marked the beginning of a new approach to reality in documentary and prefigures the trademark style of the NFB's newly formed French Unit. Today, Les raquetteurs is considered a precursor to the birth of direct cinema. In French with English subtitles.
Ozias Leduc (1864-1955) was one of Quebec's most important visual artists. Largely self-taught, Leduc's wide-ranging painting, writing and photography have both a symbolic and spiritual dimension. This biography illuminates Leduc's life by drawing on the writings of two of his friends, writer Robert de Roquebrune (1889-1978) and painter Paul-Émile Borduas (1905-1960). Their recollections paint the portrait of an enigmatic and reserved man who summed up his vocation with the words, "The artist's sole mission is to give expression to the Beautiful. The Beautiful as free as space and time."
This feature-length documentary is an on-the-spot record of the student protests that shook the Université de Moncton in 1968-69. Led by students desiring greater recognition of the French fact in New Brunswick, the protests spawned street marches, petitions and a sit-in, but also many discussions among students seeking to re-establish an Acadian identity.
Chicago Black Hawks hockey star Stan Mikita visits his native Czechoslovakia for a family reunion in this 1968 documentary. The cameras follow him over the course of a day and evening as he and his wife and daughter travel to Prague and the small village of Sokolce, where he was born. We get a good glimpse of Czech life, and the enthusiasm that exists for the sport of hockey.
This short documentary features acclaimed author and activist Jane Jacobs' forthright, critical analysis of the problems and virtues of North American cities. Jacobs orients her fascinating observations around Toronto, to which she moved after leaving New York City because Toronto "is a city that still has options ... it hasn't made so many mistakes that it's bound to go downhill.” Her remarks, made in 1971, are prescient yet earnest and will interest all urban stakeholders. This colourful city film, accompanied by an upbeat, jazzy soundtrack, is a must-see for all civic and community groups—indeed, for all urban dwellers worldwide.