Volume 23, Issue 7 / July 2019

Oh Canada (with special focus on Québec)

For this issue we place a special focus on the cinemas of Canada, with an emphasis on Québec film culture. Historian and film critic Constance Dilley (formerly Connie Tadros) has a past history serving the Québec film scene as administrator of Cinéma Québec magazine, editor-in-chief of Cinema Canada magazine, and administrator of the Association des producteurs de films du Québec in the 1970s, which has served her well in her book length analysis of the Quebec Film Industry, Crosscurrents: How Film Policy Developed in Quebec 1960-1983. It is also (to my mind) the first single author English book on Québec cinema. To underscore the importance of this book Offscreen dedicates two book reviews, by regular contributors David Hanley and Philip Gillett. Québec City is the setting for the odd ‘Canadian’ film noir, Whispering City (1947, French version titled La Fortresse), the first film from Québec Productions Corporation, a company founded by Paul L’Anglais and René Germain in 1946, with designs of cracking the US market. Though the film failed financially it looked ahead, according to Peter Morris in his seminal The Film Companion, to the many “Hollywood North” productions of the 1970s. First-time writer Yaelim Nam analyzes this Québec flavored film noir, but rather than focus on the noir elements Nam hones in on the film’s use of a musical extract from a composition by ill-fated Québec composer André Mathieu (1929-1968) and how it reflects “the anxieties concerning the advent of modernism, and the attempt to merge music and landscape to construct a national character”. One of the greatest and longest standing ambassadors of film culture in Montreal is Phil Spurrell’s The Film Society, which has been serving the community since 1992. Hanley reports on a Film Society presentation of the great Murnau classic, Sunrise. Also new to Offscreen, Benedetta Mancusi follows with an insightful look at a 1995 film which feels as relevant today as it did on its release, Clement Virgo’s Rude. With Rude, Jamaican-born, Canadian director Virgo channels through a litany of inner city (Toronto) issues —racism, racial tension, abortion, latent homosexuaity, drug use— with a stark and poetic style. Closing off the issue is filmmaker Simon Nagler’s appreciation and interview with Nova Scotia filmmaker Winston DeGiobbi. Nagler looks at DeGiobbi’s work through the prism of the “amateur” (in the best sense of the term) filmmaker who works with little means and with “friends and family” rather than established crew members. (Donato Totaro, ed.

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