Volume 9, Issue 5 / May 2005
Québec Cinema: Past and Present
In this issue
Jacques Godbout's Québécois Classic
Robert Lepage's Le Confessionnal Ten Years Later
The Documentary Worlds of Denys Arcand
Since its inception in 1997 Offscreen, based in Montréal, has consistently covered and helped promote its local films and filmmakers. In this special issue Offscreen devotes itself entirely to the recent and past of Québec cinema. The range of material covered spans 1951 to 2002. There are interviews with one of Québec cinemas elder statesmen, Denys Arcand, and with two filmmakers who represent a generation of young (and youngish) Québec filmmakers (among them, Mitch Davis, Maurice Deveraux, Éric Canuel, Kim Nguyen and Izabel Grondin) who are attempting to forge an indigenous brand of genre cinema that isn’t afraid of borrowing cross-culturally while remaining true to their Québec roots, Karim Hussain and Julien Fonfrède. Fittingly, the issue kicks off with an essay on one of the first ever Québec genre films, Jacques Godbout’s IXE-13. With this essay Offscreen is happy to welcome a writer who has done great work as ambassador of Canadian genre cinema, Paul Corupe, who maintains a wonderful website dedicated to the Canadian B-Movie, Canuxploitation! Corupe traces the lineage of Québec’s first (and only?) genuine superhero, the spy IXE-13, from “roman feuilleton” (serial novel) to cinema screen. The next two films to be analyzed both have connections to the 1950s Québec of the Duplessis era, La petite Aurore, l’enfant martyre (1951) and La Confessional (1995). The former is a direct cultural by-product of the Duplessis era, while the latter uses the same 1950s context as a springboard for a reflection on the interaction of personal and historical memory. The latter essay stands as a 10th anniversary tribute to Robert Lepage’s impressive debut film La Confessional.