Eighty-five-year-old Viola Léger has been embodying La Sagouine, the famous character from Antonine Maillet’s eponymous 1971 play, for over 40 years. Filmmaker Rodolphe Caron follows the veteran Acadian actress as she prepares for a new series of performances, inviting her to talk about her long and successful career.
In Margaret Atwood: Once in August, filmmaker Michael Rubbo attempts to discover what shapes the celebrated writer's fiction and what motivates her characters. As one of Canada's most distinguished poets and novelists, Atwood is also one of this country's most elusive literary figures.
This feature-length documentary shines a much-deserved spotlight on Evelyn Lambart, who stood side-by-side with Norman McLaren for 21 years. Dubbed The First Lady of Canadian Animation, Lambart was an accomplished animator in her own right. This compilation, playfully contextualized by filmmaker Donald McWilliams, aims to prove just that.
This short documentary profiles Quebec-born singing sisters Kate and Anna McGarrigle. The sisters enjoy international acclaim—although outside of the mainstream—for their inimitable style, their talent as songwriters, and especially their unassuming, informal personalities. With camera and sketchbook in hand, artist and filmmaker Caroline Leaf captures the sisters’ endearing qualities. The result is an easygoing, sometimes whimsical portrait of the famous sisters on and off stage. Highlights include excerpts from the sisters’ Carnegie Hall performance and a look at their songwriting and recording processes.
This feature documentary follows Le Théâtre de La Mouette, a travelling puppet theatre company comprised of a husband, his wife and their 3 teenage sons. The family has crossed Canada from east to west, and north to the Yukon, taking their amusing play (with a serious ecological message) to remote towns and villages. This film traces their 7th trip in 10 years, this time to the Maritimes and Newfoundland.
This feature documentary is a portrait of the life and work of Canadian poet Irving Layton. Here, the artist who long masked himself in controversy, unexpectedly agrees to be unmasked in front of the camera. The 1981 Nobel nominee not only reads and explicates his own writings, but also speaks incisively about Canadian literature itself, defining it metaphorically as a "double hook" that combines "beauty and terror."
For more background info on this film, visit the NFB.ca blog.
This feature documentary presents a thoughtful and vivid portrait of a community facing imposed relocation. At the centre of the story is a remarkably astute and luminous 12-year-old black girl whose poignant observations about life, the soul, and the power of art give voice to those rarely heard in society. Unarmed Verses is a cinematic rendering of our universal need for self-expression and belonging.
This short documentary focuses on prairie sculptor Joe Fafard. If there's one thing Joe knows, it's cows. He knows the way they tuck in their forelegs to lie down to ruminate and the way a calf romps in the barnyard. He also knows his friends and neighbours in the farming community of Pense, Saskatchewan—and he sculpts them all in clay, as eloquent and quirky miniatures. Joe's work has been exhibited throughout Canada as well as in Paris and New York, and this film offers a glimpse into his process, his aesthetic, and the charming prairie community in which he lives.
Farley Mowat has sold more books than any other Canadian writer – 10 million copies in 22 languages in 50 countries. In this short film, Mowat recalls some of his experiences that have found their way into his work.
This Emmy-nominated feature film is an intimate and evocative journey into the hearts, minds and eyes of Georgia O’Keeffe, Emily Carr and Frida Kahlo - 3 of the 20th century’s most remarkable artists. The film uses the women’s own words, taken from their letters and diaries, to reveal 3 individual creative processes in all their subtle and fascinating variety.
This feature-length Oscar®-nominated documentary focuses on Malcolm Lowry, author of one of the major novels of the 20th century, Under the Volcano. But while Lowry fought a winning battle with words, he lost his battle with alcohol. Shot on location in four countries, the film combines photographs, readings by Richard Burton from the novel and interviews with the people who loved and hated Lowry, to create a vivid portrait of the man.
This 1959 feature documentary is a foray into Canada’s art milieu. What is it like to be a Canadian artist? Answering this central question are Teresa Stratas, winner of Metropolitan Opera auditions; acclaimed lyric tenor Léopold Simoneau and his talented wife, soprano Pierrette Alarie; the National Ballet Company of Canada’s artistic director, Celia Franca and leading male dancer, David Adams; as well as jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, whom we visit at 3 o'clock in the morning at Boston's Storyville Club. The film also includes interviews with radio and television actor John Drainie, Christopher Plummer and Jean Gascon, director of Montreal's Théâtre du Nouveau Monde.