Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Jean-Pierre Lefebvre: Videaste

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Jean-Pierre Lefebvre: Videaste

Article excerpt

Harcourt, Peter (ed.), Jean-Pierre Lefebvre: Videaste (The Toronto International Film Festival Inc., 2001), xi + 91 pp. Paper. $9.95. ISBN 0-9689-1320-2.

I urge you to see Jean-Pierre Lefebvre's feature film Les Fleurs sauvages (1982, 152 minutes: International Critics Prize, Cannes, 1983). It is a feast for the senses, a hymn to life, a perfect blend of joy and sadness. It is the essence of a certain Quebec cinema, the pastoral strand (Pour la suite du monde, La vraie nature du Bernadette, Avec tambours et trompettes). It is at the heart of Lefebvre's long cinematic career (1964 to 2001 are the years covered in the filmography accompanying this book). My copy of the film was kindly taped from Channel 4 by Marc Boucher, madly incongruous commercials included. He knew I would love it.

Grandma, complete with knitting, rides the bus from the City to the townships for a brief stay with her daughter, her two grandchildren and daughter's new photographer partner. They live in an old farmhouse surrounded by the wild flowers of the title, reminiscent for me of summer in the Charlevoix, resplendent with dog daisies, flax and orange Canadian Hawkweed. It is deliberately slow-paced, to simulate real time. Some scenes are re-run in black- and-white, giving a sense of the gap between the viewpoints of the different generations. …

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