Quebec National Cinema

Quebec National Cinema

BILL MARSHALL
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 400
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt80zdn
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    Quebec National Cinema
    Book Description:

    In the first comprehensive, theoretically informed work in English on Quebec cinema, Marshall views his subject as neither the assertion of some unproblematic national wholeness nor a random collection of disparate voices that drown out or invalidate the question of nation. Instead, he shows that while the allegory of nation marks Quebec film production it also leads to a tension between textual and contextual forces, between homogeneity and heterogeneity, and between major and minor modes of being and identity.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6876-1
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xx)
    Bill Marshall
  4. 1 Producing and Envisioning the Nation
    (pp. 1-24)

    During the course of 1998, a site appeared on the World Wide Web (www) announcing a forthcoming Quebec film,Québec Jour J, in effect a war film, with the largest budget of any Quebec film so far, about the consequences of a successful “yes” vote in a Quebec referendum on independence. In response, Canada, or rather “la fédération,” launches “a military repression on a scale never imagined,” but the heroic “Quebec forces” fight back, and deal the federation “a bloody good hiding.” Two sequels were also announced:La Fédération contre-attaqueandLa Reconquista.

    This book is in part about the...

  5. 2 Foundational Fictions
    (pp. 25-45)

    Two feature films of the early 1960s,Pour la suite du monde, directed by Pierre Perrault and Michel Brault, andÀ tout prendre, directed by Claude Jutra, serve to illustrate and develop both the problematic nature of “national cinema” in general and the ambiguities of Quebec cinema as it emerges within a particular material, ideological, and aesthetic context.

    Pour la suite du monde, shot in 1962 and released in 1963, seems at first sight to be easily categorized withinle direct, with the qualifier that Perrault (1927–99) and Brault instigate and participate in the event they film. They encourage...

  6. 3 The Cinema of Modernization
    (pp. 46-74)

    The term “Quiet Revolution” orrévolution tranquillehas come to designate that period of reform in Quebec economic and political affairs that began in 1960 with the provincial election victory, after a fifteen-year gap, of the Liberal Party led by Jean Lesage under the slogan “maîtres chez nous”/“masters in our own house.” A Ministry of Education was created, with control of the system transferred from the Roman Catholic Church to the provincial government, which also took over health and welfare. A number of companies were nationalized, the most important of which was Hydro Quebec. There was also an expansion of...

  7. 4 Quebec/France
    (pp. 75-102)

    The abundance of references to France in Quebec popular culture emphasizes the pervasive presence of the “mother country” but also a tension. Often the butt of humour, French culture can be portrayed as a beacon of taste and manners to be undermined by the quintessentiallyquétaine(naff or kitsch) Québécois couple in the television sitcomLa Petite Vie, or as backwardly lacking in the (especially sanitary) comforts North Americans such as the Québécois might expect; on the latter point, witness the comedienne Dominique Michel’s cameo as the travel agent inLe Crime d’Ovide Plouffe(Arcand, 1984; set in the 1940s);...

  8. 5 Sex and the Nation
    (pp. 103-132)

    The chapter in Benedict Anderson’sImagined Communitiesdevoted to “Patriotism and Racism” seeks to elucidate the phenomenon of political love, in which affection for the “nation” can go as far as to lay down one’s life, and is, as is commonplace, so often couched in terms of kinship and home. However, Anderson is wary of investigating the historical construction of “the family” itself, and is simply content to make links, based on their respective, non-chosen airs of purity, between the “disinterested love and solidarity”¹ it contains and that extended to and demanded by the nation. The inconsistency of his scare...

  9. 6 Auteurism after 1970
    (pp. 133-171)

    This periodization marks, like all periodizations, a transition. It is bound on one side not only by the emergence in the 1960s of a Quebec national cinema, but by the putting into place of political, cultural, and institutional arrangements which would structure in the following decades the paradigms in which that cinema and that society imagined itself and its contradictions. On the other side lies a new turn, the contemporary period, in which the ever-present exigencies of the “national” (as illustrated by the renewal of Quebec nationalism following the collapse of the Meech Lake Accord in 1990) have to contend...

  10. 7 Popular Cinema
    (pp. 172-207)

    If, as Eric Hobsbawm has pointed out, nationalism precedes the nation,¹ then the “people” are not a given but have to be created and produced. The journalism of the nineteenth century, radio from the 1930s and television from the 1950s, and manifestations of direct cinema such asLes RaquetteursandPour la suite du monde, all contributed to the construction of French-Canadian and then Québécois identity through narratives and representations of its ordinary people. When we speak of popular cinema, however, we come up against the conundrums posed by terminology. The confrontation of the “popular” with a “mass” cultural medium...

  11. 8 Women’s Cinema
    (pp. 208-238)

    “Women’s cinema” does not here necessarily mean feminist cinema, but simply films made by women. It holds out at least the possibility of alternative film-making practices to a bogus cultural universalism that is in fact very situated, that takes the particularity/ies of masculinity as a norm which establishes difference and alterity. Establishing even “women” or “women’s cinema” as categories, however, involves some of the pitfalls and issues – those of homogeneity and heterogeneity – that pertain to “the national.” On the one hand, it is a category refused by certain women film-makers in Quebec.¹ (The dominance of auteurism in film...

  12. 9 The Indigenous Other
    (pp. 239-262)

    The native peoples represent one of the key political challenges to the Quebec sovereignist project. Although they represent 1 per cent of Quebec’s total population and are scattered among several “nations,” territories, and reserves, their general mistrust of Quebec nationalism, and the fact that since Confederation in 1867 and the Indian Act of 1876 most have come under federal jurisdiction, mean that a successful sovereignty referendum would be followed by great uncertainty. The Oka conflict in the summer of 1990, when Mohawk communities in Kanesatake and Kahnawake outside Montreal confronted Canadian and Quebec security forces over the extension of a...

  13. 10 The Immigrant Other
    (pp. 263-284)

    At first sight, if the native peoples problematize Quebec identity through reference to its past, immigrants problematize the future. Multiculturalism, cruelly described as “the masochistic celebration of Canadian nothingness,”¹ is a central social reality of Canada, but it is also a voluntarist governmental policy and indeed an official ideology of the Canadian state. It was instituted by Trudeau in 1971 and enshrined in the 1982 version of the constitution, the influx of non-British immigrants after the Second World War having eventually challenged the cultural hegemony of the country’s Anglo-Celtic élites. Originally an extension, therefore, of Canada’s new bilingualism, it enlarged...

  14. 11 Modernity and Postmodernity
    (pp. 285-312)

    Denys Arcand’sLe Déclin de l’empire américain(1986) andJésus de Montréal(1989) are significant not only for their domestic and international success (Le Déclingrossed more than any other film in Quebec in its year of release, and remains the biggest-grossing Quebec film of all time in the world market), and for the fillip they provided for the Quebec film industry, reoriented towards an emphasis on lucrative auteur cinema. They also inaugurated, at the end of the 1980s, a cinema preoccupied less by national self-definition, assertion, and creation than by the awareness of a Quebec inserted in global flows...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 313-338)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 339-358)
  17. Index
    (pp. 359-371)