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Juillet 2018
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Home folk, it's your turn!
By Elyzabeth Walling 


 Forty-nine years ago, the motto on Quebec licence plates was changed. "La belle province" was replaced by "Je me souviens." It illustrated a change in mentality. We recognized the importance of remembering our roots. Twelve years ago, Pierre Karl Péladeau asked Marie-José Raymond and Claude Fournier why there were no more film clubs. We then realized that film has a limited life span: It had to be restored and, especially, the entire Quebec film heritage had to be made accessible. Claude Fournier suggested the name Elephant. Unlike the MGM lion, elephants never travel alone. It's also an animal that has memory and pays tribute to its dead.  

In 2006, the design of the legal aspects of film distribution and restoration techniques required a lot of thought, not to say invention. Marie-José and Claude first partnered at Québecor with Luc Lavoie, a close collaborator of Pierre Karl Péladeau. Then, Sylvie Cordeau became in Claude's words Elephant's "guardian angel." It should also be pointed out that Robert Dépatie, Vidéotron's chairman and CEO, agreed to forego any fee to the illico channel for broadcasting Elephant's films, which shows the generous character of the project.  

Considerable work was done with every film trade union and associations. Two years were needed to develop a legal agreement with all of them, including the AQPM, the  ARRQ, the UDA and SARTEC. They unanimously agreed to create a special bracket enabling Elephant to make films in which their members participated accessible. That was a way of ensuring every creator would get their share in the distribution of Quebec films.
The management of iTunes asked to meet Elephant in the year of its fifth anniversary. With the introduction of films subtitled in English, the world opened up to our restored movies. Lately, to mark the 10th anniversary, Spanish subtitling was introduced. 

Now internationally renowned, our cinema is offered to film buffs on the big screen. Quebec films were featured twice at the prestigious Festival Lumière, three times at the Cannes Classics in France, at New York's MOMA, at the TIFF, at Toronto's Alliance française, at Washington's American Film Institute, at Karlovy Vary, at Taipei's Golden Horse, in Portugal and elsewhere. Here, Elephant on the Big Screen presents films every month at the Cinémathèque québécoise and at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Elephant also takes part in many festivals, including the New Cinema Festival and the Fantasia International Film Festival. In July, three films will be shown at the 22nd edition of Fantasia in the Home Genres section! It may be difficult for a local work to have an active commercial life, but Elephant is helping to promote Quebec cinema.
Every year, Elephant publishes a list of its digitized, restored high-definition movies made available on illico and iTunes in the coming year. The list is arranged in alphabetical order according to the directors' names and includes a mine of information on Quebec cinema, as well as the latest news on Elephant and its mission to preserve our film heritage. Our list can be consulted on-line  consulted on-line or downloaded. Good cinema! 

Naughty comedy

The Home Genres section of the Fantasia International Film Festival fulfills a memory obligation. It's a time to discover, or rediscover popular films like La pomme, la les pépins (The Apple, the Stem… and the Seeds) on July 28. Director Claude Fournier told us a few secrets about his film. "Doing comedy is not obvious! We had a number of glitches. But the film was very successful. We pledged our house as collateral, and the film repaid all its debts in three months!" 

La pomme, la queue et les pépins: On his honeymoon, a reputed skirt chaser suddenly becomes impotent and desperately tries to regain his manliness. His wife, his friends, everybody joins the effort, resulting in hilarious scenes. A famed scientist (personified by the flamboyant Paul Buissonneau) finally puts his finger on the problem.

You should be informed that  Valérie is now being restored. The film is famous for having been one of the earliest Quebec erotic movies. The summer promises to be hot!

 It has already been announced that a big screen viewing of  Pourquoi l'étrange monsieur Zolock s'intéressait-il tant à la bande dessinée? will take place July 30 at the Imperial Cinema. Surprise: Before the screening, you'll have an opportunity to meet the cartoonists who took part in the film, Garnotte, Pierre Fournier, Serge Gaboury and Réal Godbout. The latter three are the only contributors of the mythical magazine Croc to have signed drawings in all 189 issues! Bring your precious comics you would like autographed! Collectors take note: A reprint of the original film poster will be available on the spot.    

The Denis-Héroux Award, named after the late Quebec producer and filmmaker, will be given this year to Yves Simoneau, the director of Zolock, in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the development of Quebec genre and independent movies. "Known for having directed some Quebec classics like  Les fous de Bassan (1987), Yves Simoneau also distinguished himself abroad with the big-budget French miniseries Napoléon (2002), in which he directed among others Christian Clavier, Isabella Rossellini, Gérard Depardieu and John Malkovich." ( Charles-Henri Ramond, Films du Québec, June 19, 2018) 

To be noted, Yves directed Marlon Brando's penultimate movie, Free Money, which was shot in Quebec. The cast also included Donald Sutherland, Mira Sorvino, Charlie Sheen and, not to be forgotten, Rémy Girard and Jean-Pierre Bergeron.


"I got to read all old Joseph Conrads. (...) I thought Heart of Darkness could take place here. From that idea, I developed this story." ( Robert Morin, 1994)

Heart of Darkness is the novel that also inspired Francis Ford Coppola for Apocalypse Now.  Windigo is the second feature film directed by Robert Morin. In Windigo, he invites us to explore a complex political theme, stamped in indigenous culture and echoing the 1990 Oka Crisis. The film had a short run upon its release and is unavailable in DVD. Windigo will be presented on the big screen on July 24 as part of the Home Genres section of the Fantasia Festival!  A must-see screening.
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