Crosscurrents : How film policy developed in Quebec 1960-1983
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Crosscurrents: How Film Policy Developed in Quebec 1960-1983 documents the fight by filmmakers in Quebec for a film policy that would support their ambition to create commercial feature films. In the process, it explores the history of Quebec cinema, charting how the government supports that exist today came into existence through an intense lobbying effort on the part of filmmakers. Further, the author describes how cultural bureaucrats colluded with filmmakers to force the government’s hand, and outlines the effects of this legislative process on Quebec’s English-speaking filmmakers.
This volume arises from the author’s analysis of voluminous provincial, federal, association, and personal archival sources and also draws on interviews with key figures. The archival sources describe the development over 23 years of provincial structures and policies that try to accommodate the cultural and economic needs of a young, emerging film industry. The result is a book that casts new light on the early events in the cultural life of modern Quebec.



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Date de parution 11 octobre 2018
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9782760549401
Langue English

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How film policy developed in Quebec 1960-1983
Foreword by Claude Martin
Constance Dilley
Biblioth que et Archives nationales du Qu bec and Library and Archives Canada cataloguing in publication
Dilley, Constance, 1941-, author
Crosscurrents: how film policy developed in Quebec, 1960-1983 / Constance Dilley.
(Culture et publics)
Includes bibliographical references and index. Issued in print and electronic formats.
ISBN 978-2-7605-4938-8 ISBN 978-2-7605-4939-5 (PDF) ISBN 978-2-7605-4940-1 (EPUB)
1. Motion pictures - Qu bec (Province) - History - 20th century. 2. Motion picture industry - Qu bec (Province) - History - 20th century. 3. Motion pictures -Political aspects - Qu bec (Province) - History - 20th century. I. Title. II. Series: Collection Culture et publics.
PN1993.5.C3D54 2018
C2018-940442-6 C2018-940443-4

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Preface Claude Martin
1. How it all began
2. Starting from scratch: 1960-1962
3. Gu rin stirs the provincial pot: 1962-1964
4. Enter the young Turks: 1963-1966
5. Laporte and L ger signal a fresh approach: 1964-1966
6. Frustration begets innovation: 1966-1968
7. First federal fruits: 1968-1970
8. Provincial solidarity undone: 1970-1971
9. Rapid growth, sudden struggle: 1970-1972
10. The pain of collaboration: 1972-1973
11. So much effort, such a meagre yield: 1974-1975
12. The aftermath of legislation: 1976-1979
13. Final battles, final touches: 1980-1983
14. Ramifications
Appendix A Canadian Film Development Corporation investments, 1968-1980
Appendix B Comparison of investments, 1968-1980
Appendix C List of abbreviations
Appendix D List of key players
The Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies at York University twice came to my aid during initial research. Grants allowed me, first, to travel to Quebec City and Ottawa to search through archives and, second, to have the French quotes in this manuscript translated.
Archivists, especially Pierre-Louis Lapointe of the provincial Centre d archives de Qu bec in Quebec City, have my special gratitude. In the long, isolated task of combing through archives in search of buried treasure, it was important to have watchful guidance from others who were also passionate about what the documents might reveal.
I am also grateful to the citizens of Ontario, who, perhaps unwittingly, contribute their tax dollars so that York University can waive school fees for truly mature students. I think of it as preventive medicine.
A huge thank-you goes to Professor Joy Cohnstaedt, the supervisor of the dissertation from which this book is derived. She was meticulous about details and shared my fascination with policy development. She always reminded me of the larger Canadian context in which culture within the province of Quebec evolved. Moreover, she was patient, kind, and answered her emails promptly. In all, she was the perfect adviser.
This book had a special set of problems, due to the bilingual nature of the research and writing. Thanks go to Joan Irving for her patient translations, made more valuable because of her deep knowledge of the film and television industry in Canada. Our conversations were always a source of stimulation, sometimes leading to larger debates about culture and language.
Lynne Massey was the first editor to read over my dissertation and suggest ways to make it more interesting and readable to a public outside of academia. She helped greatly by noting that I had written history rather than a policy paper, helping me to reorient the original text; our dinners together were bright spots in the year. As for Rosemary Shipton, I had to mount a veritable seduction campaign to get her to take me on, busy as she always is with restructuring manuscripts for authors who are now well-known and esteemed. This book is her effort to make a silk purse, reflecting her personal sense of elegance.
David Silcox became an early booster and worked hard to open doors to potential publishers. He felt strongly that this story should be told and was always ready with an invitation to lunch when the going got rough.
Telefilm Canada has all my thanks for the initial grant that allowed me to hire Ms. Shipton and, again, for the final grant that allowed me to find an academic publisher. When I was about to relinquish that search, Professor Claude Martin of the Universit de Montr al came to my rescue. He believed in the importance of my research and put me in touch with Jason Luckerhoff of the Universit du Qu bec Trois-Rivi res and Presses de l Universit du Qu bec. I owe a great debt to both men, who were so encouraging and steadfast. At the end, editor extraordinaire and dear friend Lynn Cunningham polished the final manuscript, weaving her way through the labyrinth of French and English to bring harmony.
Finally, my grateful thanks go to Jean-Pierre Tadros, former film critic at Le Devoir and Le Jour and my life partner for twenty-three years. He initiated Cin ma Qu bec magazine, and its prestige later brought Cinema Canada magazine to Montreal. To fellow observers of that earlier cinema scene who worked on the magazines-especially Delphina Mehes and Gary Lamphier and, later, Michael Dorland, Jamie Gaetz and Tom Perlmutter-goes a special thanks for your company on the journey. It was frustrating, exciting, ground-breaking and, usually, a lot of fun. I realize now how important it was to capture those early events and to preserve them in Cin ma Qu bec and Cinema Canada. This book is an extension of that work. Without it and the magazines, Crosscurrents would have been nearly impossible to write.
Claude Martin
Universit de Montr al and Universit du Qu bec Trois-Rivi res
Constance Dilley s book may surprise many a reader, because it explores the history of Quebec cinema in relation to the creation of a film industry in Quebec, especially in Montreal. It also analyzes the many influences underlying various laws and their consequences on cinematographic production and further outlines the effects of this legislative process on Quebec s English-speaking filmmakers. Her research thus stands apart from other treatises on cinema history focusing on artistic expression, which is an approach also unquestionably valid. Her work could likely revive debate on the direction that provincial and federal policy should have taken regarding film and other cultural industries. Given the impact of digitalization on cultural products, these issues are still very much alive.
During her research, Constance Dilley adopted the classical, historical method. Analyzing archival documentation that she collected and indexed, she completed her analysis with direct testimonials which she also gathered. It should be pointed out that Constance Dilley is fully conversant with the Montreal cinema scene, drawing on her active involvement in this sphere.
According to French historian Fustel de Coulanges (1830-1889), history is the science of human societies (cited in Barbier and Bertho Lavenir, 2000: 8). Although the study of history is not inextricably linked to social sciences theories, social sciences methods are increasingly applied to historical research in order to augment the understanding which flows from the classical method of critical analysis of archival material.
Nevertheless, Dilley s research certainly offers valuable theoretical lessons. From the social sciences perspective, cinema is both art and industrial organization. As a branch of economics, industrial organization looks at the determinants of economic results in various sectors of the economy. Examples of determining factors include the following: i) technology (recording techniques for both sound and image); demand issues (available income and level of education); ii) state intervention (taxes, copyright and censorship); iii) competition (concentration of capital, and barriers to entry such as permits). All of the above generate strategies and results. Conditions in Quebec during the 1930s and 1950s allowed for very limited cinematographic production. However, today s context is quite different, even more so as film now belongs to a broader sector including television and online streaming. All this raises the question: What happened?
Dilley shows that motivation from within the industry must be taken into account to understand the origins of Quebec s film policies and, thus, the current situation. Together, industry strategy and public policy influence both the financial and artistic value of film production. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out here that this theory does not exclude considering artistic or other motives to shed light on a given situation. Obviously, the logic of economics applies to other cultural industries; however, film stands out, given the significant financial resources needed for production. The same may be said of television. Overall, this type of production occurs more readily in large, wealthy societies where economies of scale may be achieved. Such is not the case in Quebec, unless production is destined for an external market.
As a historian, Constance Dilley presents material that is compatible with social theories on cinema, notably political and economic theories. In economics, these theories are given various designations and orientations: industrial or financial organization of the media, entertainment sector economics, theory of cultural industries, political economy of the media and cultural economics, to name but a few. Most studies in these areas comprise sections on government. History shows that government interventions are nothing new, but in the second half of the twentieth century governments rapidly became more involved in many societies.
Some specializations in the social sciences focus on state intervention in the cultural sectors and refer to cultural policy whenever these interventions become more explicit. For example, in France, Farchy and Sagot-Duvauroux (1994: 164) analyzed the economic foundation of public intervention in culture. They noted a market logic based on individual reason in opposition to a logic of public intervention drawing upon the necessarily collective nature of cultural practices. Another logic yet prevails in Washington, as there is no minister of culture in the United States.
Gattinger and Saint-Pierre (2011) analyzed provincial cultural policies in Canada and found Canadian cultural policies hybrid , inspired by both the British (strict independence between the State and culture) and the French approaches (fusion of State and culture). The American influence could be added, but hesitatingly with regard to cultural policy . Yet Quebec is notable for its cultural policies. In fact, Diane Saint-Pierre concluded that Quebec s cultural policy is an important vector in the discourse on identity and cultural specificity, while Quebec has gradually set itself apart from the other Canadian provinces and federal actions (Gattinger and Saint-Pierre, 2011: 226).
This statement appears to contradict one of Dilley s conclusions: that film production in Quebec and its political regulation were not primarily an expression of either Quebec nationalism or Qu b cois identity. The entirety of Dilley s work portrays the lengthy, arduous efforts of filmmakers and their allies to persuade the Quebec government to draft laws supporting a burgeoning or still fragile film industry. Their main desire is to make movies, but not only certain types like those dealing with Quebec s identity. For government, however, the perspective may be quite different. In a different time, namely the 1930s, the Canadian government founded CBC/Radio-Canada with clearly political goals. One such goal was indeed the construction of a Canadian identity. In 1961, the Quebec government also had a political identity project in setting up a Ministry of Cultural Affairs. This ministry even shared the same name as its counterpart in France. Jean Lesage had great ambitions: The Government intends to make the province of Quebec the beacon of French culture in North America (Par , 2010). Filmmakers wanted to make movies; whereas, successive provincial governments wanted to create a more educated, more moneyed, more French society capable of producing books, films, records, and television programs.
Dilley deftly shows how Quebec s cinema policies disappointed several actors within the system. First, the Anglophones, many Jewish, who had been very active in Montreal s early cinema, found themselves without support to produce movies in English. Moreover, Montreal directors and producers targeting the American market lost support both in Quebec and Ottawa. This situation may have prevented Montreal from becoming a major film production centre and made the Montreal milieu too homogenous to sustain such a status. Indeed, this evokes one of the arguments for Hollywood s powerful influence worldwide through its cultural heterogeneity, which has enabled it to communicate with many cultures. There are yet to be other explanations, e.g., American military and diplomatic clout. To Dilley s credit, she has lifted the veil on a lesser-known chapter in the history of Quebec cinema.
Constance Dilley has reached a conclusion that we can share: The growth of feature production in Quebec has been a consequence, therefore, of political, economic, and legislative decisions made by both the federal and the provincial governments. Other cultural industries within the province also depend on government assistance, but to varying degrees according to field. This is one of the consequences of a small market. However, such assistance is impossible without other conditions, including sufficient economic capacity and several willing actors. Dilley highlights precisely how difficult it was to forge sufficient consensus to draw up a relatively effective legislative framework for filmmaking in Quebec. In the final analysis, what may seem clear today in the collective intentions of the past was not always so clear.
Translators Note: Quotes from original French sources are unpublished translations.
Translated from the French by Egan Valentine and Kathryn Radford
BARBIER, Fr d ric and Catherine BERTHO LAVENIR. 2000. Histoire des m dias. Paris: Armand Colin.
FARCHY, Jo lle and Dominique SAGOT-DUVAUROUX. 1994. Economie des politiques culturelles. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.
GATTINGER, Monica and Diane SAINT-PIERRE, eds. 2011. Les politiques culturelles provinciales et territoriales du Canada. Origines, volutions et mises en uvre. Qu bec: Presses de l Universit Laval.
PAR , Isabelle. 2010. 100 ans d intervention de l Etat en culture - De l Etat censeur l Etat encenseur. Le Devoir , Montr al, December 6,
Chapter 1
On a frigid day in February, 1983, a Texan sat in a hotel room in Quebec City, furious. Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and a most powerful lobbyist, was fit to be tied as the provincial government held a parliamentary commission nearby. At issue was Bill 109, the legislation that filmmakers had been working toward for 23 years. If this bill passes, thundered Valenti to the press corps assembled in his suite, we ll turn Quebec into Mozambique. What none of us knew then-I was there-was that Mozambique had passed similar legislation concerning the distribution of American films and that, as a result, the MPAA had simply withdrawn all American films from circulation in that country. As both the American ambassador and consul in Quebec made press releases ready, journalists present at this off-the-record encounter felt a thrill. Finally, one government in Canada really meant to do something about the domination of American movies on the screens in Canada.
The fight for this law began in 1961, and the following tells the story of the long battle for an effective provincial film policy. What did it mean for filmmakers, ultimately, to have gained this legislation that both protected and supported them? Clearly, Quebec s film producers and distributors felt this triumph as theirs. With hindsight, we can wonder about the extent to which it was also a great win for the government. From a political point of view, the government s goal was to rally the artists behind its definition of culture in the sovereign nation it was formalizing. This is the ultimate issue with which this book concludes: the repercussions of Quebec s film policy as it effected that nation. Along the way we will meet the various elements that came into play, setting the scene for the passage of Bill 109 in 1983: the unification and subsequent fragmentation of the film lobby, the growing sophistication of the provincial government, the recognition across Western democracies of a market for the cultural industries, and the repeated American attempts to seduce Canadian producers into a submissive role. We will also witness the sudden and stunning growth of the Canadian industry, both in terms of the labour force and available financial resources, and the way in which federal forces created the context within which the province operated. And all these crosscurrents, playing out in the most turbulent two decades of Quebec s recent history.
* * *
We refuse to live knowingly at less than our spiritual and physical potential; refuse to close our eyes Make way for objective mysteries! Make way for magic!
In 1948, Quebec painter Paul- mile Borduas and fifteen of his colleagues threw out this defiant challenge in Refus global. It was a declaration of liberation in a province where the government controlled artistic expression and the Catholic Church arbitrated public morality. The oppression of those dark years, called la grande noiceur, would last for another decade, until Union Nationale Premier Maurice Duplessis died in 1959. Then the myriad opposing forces that had been brewing in Quebec quickly came together to launch the Quiet Revolution under Liberal Premier Jean Lesage.
By tracking the creation of film policy, we can trace the efforts of filmmakers to free themselves and establish a creative space. Although the Refus global painters plea had an overtone of anarchy while the filmmakers wanted to join the commercial mainstream, both groups wanted the freedom to express themselves outside of both the church s and the governments control. Archives hold the papers which reveal this period to us: political briefs, memos and minutes of meetings, reports about actions taken, legislative decisions, and the like. Mysteries come into play when we ask questions about how this all came about. The mind that thinks, the energy one summons, the risks taken, the faith in the future and in progress-these are the mysterious elements that weld the events together and give a forward motion to the whole.
The year 1960 signaled a most exciting time in the history of the province. As the new government created a modern provincial administrative structure, new ministries were set up to deal with culture, education, telecommunications, and health and welfare. Tension developed between the older elites, with their notion of culture and the younger generation, driven by the popular culture of song, film, and a literature that spoke joual , the people s language. In the ensuing rise of nationalism, there was talk of separatism, the formation of new language laws to promote a unilingual province, and an emotional split with the rest of Canada.
No group embraced this challenge more vigorously and with more persistence than French-Canadian filmmakers. i Between 1961 and 1983, the province was caught up in a fundamental transformation of its political structures and its religious orientation. It was a boisterous, passionate mutation, and filmmakers both participated in and documented the societal changes it wrought. This account of the formation of film legislation in the province is a case study of the much larger story of Quebec s few transformative decades. Canadian filmmakers work within a complex field populated by federal and provincial agencies and by private organizations and enterprises. Individuals within these agencies and organizations pressure governments to protect their competing interests. In turn, politicians make policies based on this confrontation of pragmatic needs and creative desires. After considerable discussion and revision, these policies are couched in legislation and either passed, or not, by representatives of the people sitting in the legislative parliaments.
As early as the 1930s, movies had been objects of fascination in Quebec. Although censorship was draconian, a few progressive clergy introduced their students to the world through the cin -clubs they established. Previous provincial film laws had dealt with the censorship of individual films and with the right of the public to attend movie theatres. However, the nascent film industry after 1960 wanted policies that would define the government s responsibility to filmmakers and filmmaking rather than to the public. Film workers talked about a loi-cadre -a framework law or outline law-that would establish, once and for all, that production, distribution, exhibition, and classification constitute an indivisible whole. It became a cause c l bre that endured for more than two decades.
Many filmmakers in Quebec had been trained at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in the 1950s and 1960s. After 1960, a group of French-Canadian filmmakers in Montreal began to imagine a private sector where they could work, free from the dictates of either the film board or Soci t Radio-Canada, the French-language network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). This small, predominantly French-speaking film community realized that without government support for all facets of the industry, a private sector could not flourish. Building this support became the focus of much early activity. The initial quest was for policy to enable the creation of a private production sector that would, in turn, produce feature films.
These efforts led to the adoption of the first framework film law in 1975 and, in 1983, to the passage of the amended law. Although that first film law [Loi sur le cin ma], drafted by the provincial Liberals, turned out to be weak, it wedded the government to the filmmakers, articulating a contract in which the province undertook to nourish and care for its film industry in the future. The Parti Qu b cois, elected in 1976, quickly developed a broad, popular notion of culture, one that encompassed language, education, social networks, communications, and what had traditionally been thought of as culture. The revised law this government introduced in 1983 defined the film industry in Quebec as we know it today.
* * *
I was close to the film industry in Quebec during this time, from 1970 onwards. I administered the magazine Cin ma Qu bec and then the producers association, both part-time. As editor of the magazine Cinema Canada (1975-1988), I reported on many public debates and interviewed filmmakers and bureaucrats. I know how forceful and persistent private individuals and organizations were during these crucial formative years in articulating their needs and desires for policy legislation related to filmmaking. Yet, in study after study, little attention is paid to this individual effort and much emphasis is put on abstract forces. Reading about the political economy of the time or about cultural policy and communications, I often feel that an essential element is missing. What about the people who made it all happen?
Consequently, I wanted to measure the impact of people and groups on the politicians who ultimately turned policy into law. Certainly, the challenge of Refus global had set the stage for action. I believed that individuals and organized groups had a profound, defining effect on the provincial government. But believing something and unearthing the evidence are quite different. My quest led to an excavation of myriad details, hidden away in provincial, federal, and personal archives. The real work was not so much finding the material as it was organizing it to understand the mysteries of need, conviction, and persistence that motivated these individuals in their twenty-three-year-long battle. The battle was over the creation of conditions that would foster independent filmmaking in Quebec, but it would not be won without backsliding, betrayal, and even violence. This book follows those individuals, organizations and agencies on the front-lines, in an effort to account for the private impact on public policy.
Uniquely positioned to work both in French and in English, filmmakers and producers in Montreal coalesced into a stable community, committed to an adventure in filmmaking that would last many decades. Many who were active in the 1960s were still prominent in the film industry in the opening decade of this century: Jacques Bensimon, a member of the editorial team of the new film magazine Objectif in 1961, headed the NFB from 2001 to 2006; Guy Fournier, who wrote the television series D Iberville in 1968, was chairman of the CBC in 2005-2006; Jean Pierre Lefebvre, who wrote, filmed, and directed L Homoman in 1964, was president of the Quebec directors association in 2009. David Cronenberg, one of Canada s most renowned filmmakers, came from Toronto to make three features in Quebec in the mid-1970s and served, in 1970, on the advisory committee of the Canadian Film Development Corporation (CFDC). Other individuals, including bureaucrats Raymond-Marie L ger and Andr Gu rin, and the president of Astral Bellevue Path , Harold Greenberg, had died before the new century opened, but their contributions to the development of cinema and policy in Quebec were defining.
* * *
When Duplessis died in September 1959, he had been the Union Nationale premier of the province for eighteen years (from 1936 to 1939 and again from 1944 to 1959). He led a censorious and vindictive administration, and his province was out of step with the rest of Canada.
Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, urban centres had grown exponentially in Quebec. Capital, industry, and resource development was mainly in the hands of Anglophones in large urban centres, while French Canadians dominated the provincial state apparatus and the financial and commercial ventures in the regions. The move of the rural folk, the habitants , from their farms to urban centres had been under way since the turn of the century. The tipping point came in 1927, when the census revealed that the majority of the population had moved to industrial and service regions. However, there was little political support for this demographic migration. The absence of adequate public education was shocking. Only in 1943 did schooling for children between the ages of six and fourteen become mandatory, while compulsory secondary education lagged until 1962. Similarly, women were held back. Whereas suffragettes had secured the vote in the 1920s throughout much of North America, women in Quebec were enfranchised only in 1940. There was no public housing, nor were there any public hospitals.
After the devastation of the Depression, the Second World War stimulated the economy again, thus reducing the huge numbers of unemployed. Times became prosperous for many. Nevertheless, Montreal was losing its status as Canada s metropolis. In 1933, the Toronto Stock Exchange was the more active stock market and, by 1960, Montreal had clearly fallen behind Toronto as Canada s engine of growth. Companies had already begun to move their head offices out of the city: in 1961, 99 American-controlled companies were located in Montreal compared with 666 in Toronto, and advertising companies, law partnerships, and accountancy firms were increasingly located in Ontario. 1
Duplessis s administration left most French Canadians poorly educated and lacking in entrepreneurship. The hold of the Catholic Church on the population accentuated this trend and discouraged many facets of modernity that usually accompany industrialization. ii As one academic explained at the time:
The professional and managerial class among Quebec s French Canadians has increased in absolute numbers between 1931 and 1951. It has not increased proportionately, however, to other French-Canadian occupational groups nor to the English professional and managerial element. Gradual industrialization, decade after decade, has introduced a higher proportion of French Canadians into clerical, skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled jobs than into proprietary, managerial and professional occupations. 2
Literacy, commerce, and enjoyment of art, music, and theatre were still elite domains, while overcrowding, ill-health, and lack of education plagued the urban working classes.
Jews were counted as a separate class of people in demographic studies up to the early 1960s, classified literally among the other. 3 The anti-Semitic attitude of the Catholic Church had infected Quebec, leaving a legacy of exclusion that Quebec is still trying to overcome. iii As trilingual intermediaries, many Quebec Jews have played key roles in general relations between the province and the federal government: Victor Goldbloom, Victor Rabinovitch, David Berger, and Eddie Goldenberg, to name but a few. They had become important out of all proportion to their numbers. This dominance was most obvious with movies. Jews have always prospered in Hollywood, and they also flourished for a time on the Quebec film scene.
The dark years under Duplessis were especially oppressive. Documenting and analyzing the situation occupied scholars for several decades before 1959. At Universit Laval, scholars such as Fernand Dumont, L on Dion, and Father Georges-Henri L vesque (the vice-chair of the Massey Commission) approached the subject sociologically and anthropologically. Demography, geography, and even climate were called on to explain the backwardness of the population. Meanwhile, at Universit de Montr al, Guy Fr gault, Maurice S guin, Michael Brunet, and their colleagues took a historical approach, peppered with political science. S guin postulated the notion of an essential oppression [ oppression essentielle ], which arose when English-speaking capitalists dominated French-speaking workers. He believed that the two nations needed to be acknowledged and separated before French Canadians could hope to grow and flourish.
Public debate on these issues was lively, and the generation that entered university after the Second World War joined in eagerly. In 1950, the new magazine Cit libre focused on opposition to the Duplessis regime, providing a platform to a group that included Fernand Dumont, Jean-Marc L ger, Ren L vesque, G rard Pelletier, Marcel Rioux, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Pierre Vadebonc ur, and Pierre Valli res. Many of these writers went on to become politicians and public intellectuals who helped to transform the province. They all agreed on one basic theme: the generally deprived condition in which French Canadians existed. Intervention was needed immediately, they said, and it could come only from government. A revamped provincial government would use modern tools, such as ministries of culture, communication, industry and commerce, health, and education, to bring French Canadians into step with other Canadians both in Quebec and elsewhere. Their dream came true with the election of Liberal Premier Jean Lesage in 1960 and the Quiet Revolution that followed. The next decade would see sweeping social, economic, and political change, capped by further innovations under the Parti Qu b cois when it came to power in 1976.
Many authors writing about Quebec make it seem that the province changed abruptly after the death of Duplessis. In fact, the soil in which the Quiet Revolution took root had been prepared by developments beginning in the 1920s.
The Catholic Church in Quebec was strongly allied ideologically to capitalist entrepreneurs, who in turn worked closely with Duplessis s Union Nationale party. The church also nurtured an ultramontane relationship with Rome, believing that, because its first allegiance was to the Catholic hierarchy, it could go over the heads of elected politicians. This formula inevitably bolstered intervention, complacency, and ignorance. The priests dismissed the importance of secondary school education, stating Actually in our province, and for a long time still, a large part of the population can, if necessary, earn a living without schooling. 4 This attitude was preached from the pulpit and protected through the church s domination of elementary schools, hospitals and hospices, and alms to the poor. The archbishop of Montreal served as the chancellor of Universit de Montr al and exercised control over educational programs and curricula. By 1931, there was one cleric or nun for every ninety-seven Roman Catholics in Quebec. 5
Nevertheless, cooperative movements and unions, often founded in a spirit of social Catholicism, had begun to question the truths of the old regime and to create options for both the agricultural and the urban working classes. As early as 1910, the Cooperative f d r e united farmers in the province and Alphonse Desjardins founded the vigorous credit unions [caisses populaires] , which are still a banking force. These new social organizations were, in turn, taken up and promoted by intellectuals in newspapers and scholarly publications and by broadcasters through the radio and television network of Radio-Canada, which had been founded in 1936. The culmination of this effervescence came in 1948 with the publication of the artists radical declaration: Refus global.
The text, 6 written by Borduas and other artists, describes with passion and poetry the trajectory of the French-Canadian people from the founding of the colony to the mid-twentieth century. It highlights the splendid revolutions of France, Russia, and Spain, the decadence of Christian civilization, and the regression of collective moral power in favour of individual and sentimental power. It attacks intention and reason as the enemies of imagination and defends the power of the artist to effect a great social transformation by way of spontaneity and anarchie resplendissante. It challenges all French Canadians to react against oppressive forces.
The Marxist dictate that salvation will come only after the most excessive exploitation is explicit. 7 Yet this statement is not so much political as socio-cultural, one that calls for the end of fear and the beginning of audacious awareness. Filmmaking would soon contribute to this wake-up call, although it would be centred on capitalist markets instead of Marxist ideas.
The Refus global text exploded onto the public scene and had an enormous effect on intellectuals in the province. It attributed the people s backwardness not to forces outside Quebec but to the regressive influences within-essentially to the way French-Canadian society was governing itself. The document quickly became a rallying point, planting a seed that would take hold after 1959.
The catalysts of this transformation were a trio of Liberals-Jean-Louis Gagnon, Jean-Marie Nadeau, and Georges- mile Lapalme. 8 At the end of the Duplessis years, they drafted the reform platform that Jean Lesage, a lawyer and federal Liberal politician, would later implement when he became premier of Quebec. Lesage had been a member of Parliament in Ottawa since 1945 and, in 1953, he became minister of Resources and Development in Louis St. Laurent s cabinet. Although re-elected in his own riding in 1957, he quit the federal scene and returned to Quebec-perhaps, in part, due to the victory of John Diefenbaker s Conservatives in the elections. There, he became head of the Liberal Party. Versed in Keynesian theories, which had been prominent in the 1940s and 1950s and which the recent Liberal government had begun to apply federally, Lesage created new ministries and modernized the provincial government. His reforming, pragmatic approach brought the Quiet Revolution to sleepy Quebec City, the provincial capital.
The swift establishment in March 1961 of the first new ministry, the minist re des Affaires culturelles (MAC), speaks volumes about the mood of the province and of the new government s priorities. Sociologist Guy Rocher wrote:
It is precisely because the stage for the Quiet Revolution was set with a slow and laborious calling into question of ideas, ideologies, attitudes, and mentalities that it was first and foremost a cultural mutation It was a cultural revolution. 9
While the mega-economic organization of the province remained unchanged, social values became unhinged from the church. A society once held together by religion gave way to a secular, civil society that demanded difficult psychological adjustments from French- and English-speaking citizens alike.
* * *
The early history of cinema in Quebec has been amply documented. 10 All authors acknowledge the National Film Board of Canada, created in 1939, and particularly its role in training French-Canadian filmmakers after it moved from Ottawa to Montreal in 1956. More important for the general French-Canadian population, however, was the early work of the Catholic Church.
If many of the provincial ills in this period can be traced to the Catholic Church, it can also take credit for introducing indigenous documentary cinema to its parishioners and for promoting its expansive, modernizing effect. 11 As early as the 1930s-reacting perhaps to the prevalence of movies imported from the USA-a group of priests, including Monseigneur Albert Tessier and Abb Maurice Proulx, understood the educational impact film could have on a marginally literate population. They managed to get hold of a few cameras and began making documentary films. Today, the annual provincial award for outstanding work in film is named Prix Albert-Tessier. Proulx s feature-length documentary about the founding of Abitibi, En pays neuf , still resonates with a profound sense of hope, new beginnings, and solidarity among the French-Canadian settlers who left the cities during the Depression to open up the North country. The challenge for the church was to use film to instruct its faithful, all the while counter-balancing the nefarious influences that commercial movies often fostered. Proulx was also hired regularly by the sponsored film department of the Secr taire de la province, for which he made more than fifty commissioned films.
Cinephile clerics lent their parish halls to cin -clubs , where films with a positive message could be shown free or at cost to parishioners, followed by discussions about the message of the film. Some films were didactic; others-most often films from France-were simply thought to be culturally uplifting. After World War II, the destruction of the French film industry prompted a production boom in Quebec whereby the company France Film supplied Europe with features. Michel Brault was introduced to films by working on Aurore, l enfant martyre. Like other young people, he got a taste of what the future might hold: the possibility of actually producing commercial features. A movement of Catholic youth, the Jeunesse tudiante catholique (JEC), helped spread cin -clubs throughout the province in the 1950s and founded the magazine D coupages to extend their influence even further. A progressive force, the JEC was not always appreciated by the bishops, but it helped to form a group of journalist-politicians who went on to be very influential in the province. Claude Ryan, for instance, became editor of Le Devoir and leader of the Liberal Party; Jeanne Sauv was appointed governor general of Canada; and G rard Pelletier, the JEC s director general from 1939 to 1943, held the culturally significant position of Secretary of State in Trudeau s first cabinet in 1968.
Many young men who later became pillars of cultural advancement in Quebec initially fell in love with movies through the cin -clubs. To name but a few: Michel Brault, the first Canadian to win the Best Director Award at the Cannes festival; Robert Daudelin, the director of the Cin math que qu b coise and recipient of France s Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters; and Pierre Juneau, who became president of the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) and the CBC. Both Brault and Juneau worked for a time at the National Film Board of Canada. With headquarters in Ottawa, the NFB s mandate directed it to interpret Canada not only to Canadians but also to other nations. In 1956, it moved its main studio to Montr al while keeping its head office in Ottawa. With both a mission and a budget from the federal government, it opened its doors to those already smitten by cinema.
Almost all the French Canadians who got jobs at the NFB in its first two decades were graduates of the church s classical colleges, many with university degrees. Claude Jutra, director of the much acclaimed Mon oncle Antoine , trained as a physician; documentary filmmaker Pierre Perrault was a lawyer; Denys Arcand, a later Oscar winner, had a degree in history; and Raymond-Marie L ger, a degree in philosophy. Jean Pierre Lefebvre went on to teach French literature in a Jesuit college; and Arthur Lamothe, an immigrant from France, studied economics at Universit de Montr al before becoming a filmmaker. But there were exceptions: Robert Daudelin neither attended university nor became an NFB filmmaker, yet he went on to become one of the most influential forces for filmmaking in Quebec from the 1960s to the end of the century and received the Prix Albert-Tessier in 2002 for his contribution to film in Quebec.
The National Film Board is among the most studied of Canada s federal cultural agencies. Pierre V ronneau, formerly of the Cin math que qu b coise, traced the development of the French section of the board in his 1987 doctoral thesis entitled R sistance et affirmation: la production francophone l ONF. He attributes the growth of this section to Francophone resistance to the perceived Anglophone domination during national and sovereignist debates. But is he correct? In the early days, such resistance was ambiguous.
The NFB s senior staff were primarily English Canadians, and administrative operations took place in English. As French Canadians entered the ranks, they were expected to conform to this Anglophone culture. Unlike the CBC/Soci t Radio-Canada, which had been organized from the outset with two separate structures in two different cities based on two different languages, French production at the NFB seemed almost an afterthought. Fernand Dansereau, who first came to prominence with his feature-length documentary St. J rome (1968), later remembered those early days:
We learned the basic techniques of our craft from English-Canadians. Our earliest films were produced within the framework of their project (the mandate of the NFB, namely, to unify Canada ).
We had a great desire to learn. We weren t particularly worried about what the Anglophones were doing. Unconsciously, I think our underlying desire was to provide our milieu, Quebec, with the normal tools of a normal people. Every advanced nation has its own cinema. Our duty was to give Quebec its own cinema, to make this Quebec normal. 12
The Free Cinema movement in the United Kingdom, he continues, and the English-speaking NFB filmmakers Roman Kroiter and Wolf Koenig provided the impetus for the cin ma-direct technique that came to define the French-Canadian documentary makers. As to its beginnings, we picked up cin ma-direct from elsewhere, 13 he concluded. In other words, some combination of English-Canadian influence and French-Canadian resistance to this presence fuelled and facilitated the making of innovative films by French Canadians. Calls to defend Quebec nationhood were not yet common.
* * *
The issue of just what nation means in Quebec is a slippery one, and it has made an impact on the formation of film policy in the province. The period before 1960 preceded any rhetorical construction of le peuple qu b cois. 14 To be a nationalist did not necessarily entail being politically engaged. French-Canadian writers throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries presumed the presence of the French-Canadian nation. The church preached it regularly from the pulpit, and it served the nation through an extensive network of schools, hospitals, and parish social services. The provincial government had little influence in these areas simply because of its absence from them. The opposition between church (good) and politics (bad) was a constant theme in French-Canadian literature. It is spelled out in Jules-Paul Tardivel s nineteenth-century novel with the futuristic title Pour la patrie: roman du XX e si cle and climaxes in the writings of Abb Lionel Groulx (1878-1967). 15 Being French Canadian and belonging to a nation was a given, just as being Black is a given to those who identify as such. The nation comprised a place, a religion, a language, and a common set of values that did not need to be defined. One knew if one belonged.
When Quebec s first minister of Culture, Georges- mile Lapalme, told his deputy minister Guy Fr gault to Work for the race, 16 he was not making a political statement so much as acknowledging a common cultural bond, a project to create a normal Qu bec through the work of the new ministry. It was a declaration that the work formerly done by the church would now be performed by the provincial government. Lapalme also commented: I never asked Guy Fr gault if he was Liberal or Conservative. And I never knew what his political convictions were, if he had any. 17 Nationalism was not yet joined to a separatist or even distinct political position.
In the 1970s and 1980s in Quebec, changes came swiftly. Many of the younger scholars, educated in the Coll ges d enseignement g n ral et professionel (CEGEPs) and universities after the 1970s, were strongly influenced by the excitement generated by the October Crisis of 1970, the election of the PQ in 1976, and the referendum on sovereignty-association in 1980. They tended to attribute the motivations and passions aroused in this period to those who worked in an earlier time, and they assumed that cin ma qu b cois could be defined as a group of films made in French by French Canadians to shed light on questions of identity in the soci t qu b coise. 18 The archival record tells a different story. It shows that the emergent film industry fought for an economic and cultural space in which filmmakers could build a viable livelihood. Moreover, the role of non-French Canadians in the province, especially Jews, was crucial to the development of the film industry in Quebec.
Nationalism in Quebec has a long and honourable tradition. After 1960, however, consecutive provincial governments converted the vision of an older cultural-almost spiritual-nationalism into a political nationalism in order to persuade the populace to embrace their particular political purposes. All parties, whether Liberal, Union Nationale, or Parti Qu b cois, followed this route, and the trend continued into 2011 in the form of Bloc Qu b cois discourse. Nationalism has become an ideological tool. Some provincial governments have since gone to great lengths to demonstrate this notion of a seamless, exclusively French-Canadian nation. The restoration of Place Royale in Quebec City is a case in point. The province chose to raze all the buildings on the site that did not date from the earliest settlement, even though, in doing so, it destroyed the structures used by English merchants during the 1800s and erased the history of the Place. The province then recreated an authentic, homogeneous French environment by constructing French Regime buildings in their stead, resulting in a supposedly historical reconstruction that bore no resemblance to any period in the past. Even the name Place Royale is a modern, invented appellation. 19 Little wonder that, today, school children confound the historical past with the myths constructed for their consumption.
The story of English-speaking filmmakers and bureaucrats working in Quebec constitutes, at minimum, the backstory to this current study of French Canadians and policy development. It will be reconsidered in the last chapter. iv

i .
I have chosen to refer to French-speaking citizens of Canada, descended from families long resident in the province of Quebec, by the older term French Canadians to avoid the confusion inherent in the adjectival noun Qu b cois. It is an issue of semantic debate as to exactly what Qu b cois refers to: all the people in the province or only French-Canadians.
ii .
As a social worker among French-Canadian labouring families in 1965, I saw the rump-end of this oppressive environment. Priests were still visiting Catholic families every year to ensure that the wife was pregnant and to ask for an explanation if she was not. Families of six, ten, fourteen, or more were not uncommon.
iii .
The provincial hearings on reasonable accommodation, held in 2013-2014 and run by the Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences, were witness to this effort.
iv .
A list of all the people mentioned in this book, along with biographical notes, is found on Appendix D . All acronyms are spelled out on Appendix C .
Chapter 2
The fight against Duplessis government had been loud and long. While the Catholic Church and state officials tried to stifle opposition, workers and intellectuals continued to organize. Television series including Ren L vesque s Point de mire brought awareness to a mass audience of a world outside the confines of la nation. Filmmakers founded magazines and a festival to celebrate this most modern of arts-cinema-while the province would soon create its first ministry of culture. Meanwhile strikes served to forge new attitudes among both participants and observers alike, and workers learned that they could reverse their oppression by battling the people in power-and winning. Sociologists studied the plight of the people and published their findings in books and articles.
The Asbestos strike of 1949 was long and violent, pitting miners against both the police and the American mine owners. The archbishop of Montreal and well-educated men such as Pierre Trudeau and Jean Marchand supported the workers, demonstrating that the premier s stranglehold on the province could be challenged. Then, in 1958, seventy-four producers struck at Radio-Canada, opting for affiliation with Marchand s Catholic workers union in an effort to free themselves from the Anglophone hegemony of the corporation. Intellectuals such as Trudeau, Marcel Rioux, and Andr Laurendeau wrote about the problems in Cit libre. Immediately after Duplessis s death, the wraps came off. At first slowly, then with increasing awareness, a brave new world seemed to open for French Canadians living in Quebec. When the anonymous publication Les insolences du fr re Untel came out in 1960, condemning the attitude of the Catholic Church, the state of education, the ignorance of teachers, the use of joual , the deplorable state of the French language, and Quebec society in general, it sold more than 100,000 copies in the first four months.
The atmosphere was changing, and young people realized they could take their lives in hand and free themselves from the dictates of their elders. While others graduated from classical colleges and entered university, Robert Daudelin struck out on another path. His father, a worker in the village of West Shefford, had academic ambitions for his son and persuaded him to enrol at Coll ge de Montr al. Daudelin, however, had developed a taste for cinema when an itinerant missionary first showed movies in the parish hall one summer, and he skipped classes so he could visit the movie theatres downtown. He soon abandoned his studies, found work writing movie posters, and was offered a job at Radio-Canada. In the late 1950s, after he married and had children, he left for Paris and the Cin math que fran aise. Although he did not find steady work in France, the days and nights of screenings and discussions about film and filmmaking galvanized Daudelin with two life-long passions: first, the movies, by which he was totally seduced and, second, the political sensitivity to oppression. This latter enthusiasm would wax and wane in him as Marxism. 1
Soon after he returned to Montreal in 1960, Daudelin founded an independent film magazine entitled Objectif. Its first editorial was a clarion call to cinephiles:
We were born with Citizen Kane , and some of us before that, with La Grande Illusion or La Chienne , some even with Gold Rush or La Passion de Jeanne d Arc. But we are all the same: born of Chaplin, Renoir and Welles-we are all equally unclassifiable.
Having placed our faith in Rossellini, Hitchcock, Hawks and Bresson, we are believers You think we re few in number But the catacombs will soon be no more and the world will believe in cinema. 2
This editorial, written by Daudelin and Michel Patenaude, the organizer of the cin -club at Universit de Montr al, cast a wide net. It invited several generations-those born in the 1940s, 1930s, 1920s, and beyond-to join the band of inclassable cinephiles. Sharing the faith of filmmakers from Italy, France, and the United States, the band members believed that cinema would soon spread across the world. And it did.
This magazine provided a site for filmmakers to reflect on their situation. It marked a departure from religious faith in Quebec towards a consuming passion for cinema and cleared a path to a culturally rich, international world of commercial films. Echoing the early days of militant Christianity, when believers hid in the catacombs, it presaged a revolution. Absent in this first manifesto was any recognition that filmmaking might be attached to a national project in Quebec-that filmmakers, films, and the public might have a specific interest in stories that reflected their society. Objectif s initial emphasis was not on production but, rather, on the freedom to see films of one s choice. i The chosen enemy was censorship in all its forms-in particular, the activity of the provincial censorship board.
From the first issue, there was coverage of the Montreal International Film Festival, founded in the same year by Pierre Juneau, Rock Demers, and Marc Lalonde. The organization of such an event may seem commonplace today, but back then it created great excitement. The idea that French-Canadian cin philes would be in contact with the international sources of quality productions, otherwise unavailable on the screens of Montreal, became a new and heady reality.
In the second issue of Objectif , Claude Jutra and Jacques Giraldeau-both NFB filmmakers-also began to write. The editorial declared that it was time to confront the provincial authorities. The censorship law- Loi de la censure (1925)-was in dire need of revision. Hoping for modern, objective measures, the magazine suggested: There are now scientific methods for assessing public opinion. Shouldn t these methods be used to guide censorship, in the same way that they are used in advertising? 3 This question posed in the editorial was not only an appeal to use scientific methods instead of arbitrary opinion, but also a recognition that the public as audience should have a say in what it could see. It moved the public from being an object that needed protection to becoming a subject that should be consulted. This change of perception mirrored a sense of agency that was percolating through all sectors of Quebec at the time.
By February 1961, Objectif revealed its clout when it organized a roundtable on censorship, bringing together Andr Laurendeau, the editor of Le Devoir; Guy-L. C t of the National Film Board; and Marc Lalonde, a professor in the law faculty at Universit de Montr al and a member of the board of the international festival. 4 The topic was hot: it addressed the unfettered circulation of the newest cultural medium and took the line that censorship represented the oppressive influence of the church. Two years later, the May 1962 issue published an open letter to Attorney General Georges- mile Lapalme. 5 It urged him to take up the cause of censorship reform to benefit the population at large: In order for the people to learn to think on their own, the authorities must not reserve for themselves the right to assume the people s responsibilities. 6 Again, the starkness of the verb to learn [apprendre] points to the broad elite perception that the general population was culturally backward. It needed to learn to think for itself.
Freedom from censorship was not yet a right for which this general population fought, and many groups and individuals were content with the stewardship of the church in this matter. ii At Objectif , however, it seemed clear that free circulation of films would enhance the ability of French Canadians to move forward. The magazine s contributors were enthusiastic about the cin -clubs that had introduced them to a world beyond provincial boundaries, and their inherent ambivalence about the general public was clear. As keen observers of history and culture and as classical college graduates, they were mostly members of the bourgeois elite. Yet, at this revolutionary moment, provoked by the election of the Liberal government in 1960, they were eager to resist the old authorities and create a new solidarity with the common man.
As for the new Liberal government, it was driven by a trio of strong, reform-minded ministers. Ren L vesque was at Natural Resources, and Paul G rin-Lajoie would soon become the first minister of Education. Georges- mile Lapalme became the first provincial minister of Cultural Affairs. Although he had written the basic platform for the Liberal Party in 1959-which Lesage implemented after his election-he took no action on movie censorship while he headed the ministry. That would come only in 1967 under the Union Nationale. Still, access to the movies was an important issue.
* * *
On this subject-the public s access to films-there is an important semantic point to make. Whereas in English the phrase film distribution is commonly used to mean the system for connecting movies to viewers, the equivalent term in French Canada at the time was diffusion. For example, in 1969, Robert Daudelin will become head of the film diffusion council, the Conseil qu b cois pour la diffusion du cin ma (CQDC). Unlike point-to-point distribution-a job for commercial distributors who were an integral part of the North American capitalist movie industry- diffusion was more scattered, more communal, and not necessarily part of a profit-making system. French Canadians were used to having movies brought to them in parish halls, through cin clubs in the classical colleges and universities or by itinerant missionaries who made the rounds. Those who gravitated to the National Film Board discovered another non-profit organization there-one that believed in the free circulation of films. With a mandate to show Canada to Canadians, it also sent travelling projectionists to the hinterlands in its attempt to connect movies to viewers. It is not surprising, therefore, that the initial discussions in Objectif about the free circulation of films did not identify the problem as an economic one concerning the market. The problem of American domination in the commercial distribution across Quebec was, at the time, overshadowed by the issue of censorship. Censorship was about trying to control what people thought by limiting what they could see. It was about authority and morality rather than economics.
* * *
Many of the earliest contributors to Objectif were filmmakers from the National Film Board. The opportunity to express themselves in print raised their consciousness about their particular situation. The ad hoc manner in which the board was managed was far removed from the rigid hierarchies in which the young filmmakers had been schooled. They were thrilled about the opportunity to learn filmmaking techniques from more seasoned, and usually Anglophone, filmmakers. As they were sent out to capture life on the screen, the French-Canadian documentarians produced work that not only broke new ground but also bore witness to the innovative, free spirit of the times. The short films Les raquetteurs (1958) and La lutte (1961) were exemplary. Pierre Perrault and Michel Brault began making their feature-length documentaries in 1963. Claude Jutra, as an actor, collaborated with master animator Norman MacLaren as early as 1957. At the time, Francophones and Anglophones at the board worked together with little antagonism. That would come later, when the initial infatuation was tempered by experience.
Nevertheless, two separate issues were soon to strain relations between the board s administration and its French-Canadian filmmakers. One was the administrative structure, which operated entirely in English at the time. 7 The other was the board s resistance to producing dramatic, fictional, feature-length films: this resulted in the board s indifference to private producers. This indifference planted the seed that would grow into the private feature-film industry in the late 1960s.
Michael Dorland has written a fine account of federal film policy as it related to the NFB, the role of its president Guy Roberge, and the activities of the various lobby groups. As he describes it, the Association of Motion Picture Producers and Laboratories of Canada (AMPPLC), essentially Anglophone and Toronto-based, wrote an initial brief in 1958. 8 This report blamed the federal government for inaction in both the Canadian film industry and television production. It sent the NFB into a panic, because the board feared a barrage of criticism from the private sector. 9 As was true in the province of Quebec, the producers were mainly concerned with the lack of work in both provincially and federally sponsored films-travelogues, educational and promotional materials-and with the uncertain market for television production. Michael Spencer, the head of planning at the NFB, later remembered drafting a memo in 1963 for the government film commissioner Guy Roberge. Addressed to the Association of Motion Picture Producers, the memo suggested the possibility of a rosy future in feature production for the private sector. The hidden agenda here was to try to direct their [the AMPPLC s] energies into feature film production and keep them off the board s back so that it could continue to enjoy its control of government [sponsored] film production. 10 The promotion of a private feature industry was, therefore, a defensive reaction by the board. For French Canadians at the NFB, it was a move toward liberation.
Before long, Objectif took up the issues of feature production and Anglophone domination of the NFB administration. By the time the magazine published its fourth issue, in January 1961, two more filmmakers were signing articles: Gilles Groulx, who worked at the board, and Jean Pierre Lefebvre, who would join its staff in 1967. Groulx, who came from working-class St. Henri, 11 had held jobs as a day labourer while attending the cole des Beaux-Arts de Montr al and as an editor at Soci t Radio-Canada before he moved to the NFB. Lefebvre studied French literature, which he taught at Loyola College. Although the magazine still focused on foreign filmmakers and reviews of foreign films, the issue of Canadian production began to interest writers. With few exceptions, the board was the only relevant producer for directors beginning their careers. As Lefebvre would reassert in 1964, For us, French Canadians, the NFB is the only important production house in Canada. 12
Historically, French Canadians referred to themselves as les Canadiens. Hence, references to Canadian cinema and national cinema did not, in those early years, differentiate between the films made in English and those in French. This is not to say that French Canadians felt at ease in the very English NFB of the 1950s and 1960s-that is a different issue. However, the body of production was still perceived to be the unified result of efforts at the board in its mission to reflect Canada to Canadians. In that same January 1961 issue of Objectif , the reviewer of a short film made by Alberta-born Colin Low suggested that, if Low were given an appropriate budget and allowed to make a feature film the way he wanted to, Canadian cinema would finally have its first world-class feature film. 13 Low had been nominated for an Academy Award in 1952 for his animated short The Romance of Transportation in Canada and would go on to be a dominant influence at the NFB, mentoring several generations of filmmakers. In 1961, Objectif identified him as a model for all to follow.
Lefebvre became the most consistent, prolific, critical, and independent of those film directors writing on filmmaking in Quebec. Before he began to write in Objectif , he had contributed to Quartier Latin , the student paper at Universit de Montr al, and to S quences , published by the Centre Catholique du cin ma de Montr al. He continued to write in Cin ma Qu bec and in 24 Images. At the same time as Daudelin, he had been in Paris, where he also attended the films presented at the Cin math que fran aise and imbibed the critical attitude so integral to any aesthetic or political debate in France. Lefebvre was always able to see the connections among filmmaking, society, culture, and politics. What he most valued was aesthetic freedom.
In April 1961, Lefebvre wrote four articles in Objectif. One of them was a homage to amateur filmmakers (people who love cinema rather than a group of non-professionals). He lamented that dramatic film production was practically nonexistent in Quebec and urged filmmakers to follow the example of Jean-Luc Godard, John Cassavetes, and Robert Frank. 14
The Montreal International Festival (1960-1967) brought famous dramatic filmmakers to Montreal: Jean-Luc Godard, Mashahiro Kobayashi, and Fran ois Truffaut, for instance. Articles spoke of Nicolas Ray, Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Cacoyannis, Fred Zinnemann, and Claude Sautet. The intensity of the desire to make fictional features was matched only by the impossibility of finding funds to do so. The only money was at the NFB, and the board did not make feature-length drama. Denys Arcand, who joined the NFB in 1962, later remembered meeting Roberto Rossellini at Claude Jutra s house during the festival. The great Italian filmmaker told him: There s never money for film. You have to beg. 15 Good cinema overcame all obstacles and crossed all boundaries. These young filmmakers were eager to learn from others. They knew that mounting a proper lobby was the first step to begging governments, and Objectif took up the fight. An odd little film launched the first volley.
* * *
In 1962, when the NFB dominated filmmaking and fictional films seemed impossible, a few students at Universit de Montr al convinced the Association g n rale des tudiants to advance funds to make a movie. Barely a feature at sixty-three minutes and costing $24,000, Seul ou avec d autres , though dismissed at the time, was of great symbolic importance.
The quality of the film was disappointing. Father L o Bonneville, an ardent defender of cinema, cin -clubs , and the Cin math que, and the long-time editor of S quences , wrote: Need I say that this kind of hodgepodge makes us sceptical of the value of a cinematographic work? For us, cinema is an art that deserves respect. 16 In Objectif , Jacques Leduc echoed, The film is bad. In attitude it s local, deeply qu b cois , despicable, rooted in the law of the least amount of effort an hour about a brief little love affair of no significance. 17 It is interesting that, in this last quote, qu b cois , a word not often used at the time, is an insulting reference, pointing to an image of French Canadians as vulgar and lacking in initiative, culture, and sophistication. The slice-of-life scenario was found to be uninteresting.
Regardless of its quality, the film proved that, with will, it was possible to make a movie outside the government agencies. The storyline focused on the young post-Duplessis generation letting loose from the strictures of classical colleges. Furthermore, it was a communal effort, a celebration, a self-reflexive act in which NFB staffers were happy to participate. 18
The authors and directors were students: Denys Arcand, Denis H roux, and St phane Venne. They convinced NFB filmmakers-Michel Brault, Bernard Gosselin, Gilles Groulx, and Marcel Carri re-to handle camera work and editing. The actors included Pierre L tourneau, Marie-Jos Raymond, Marcel Saint-Germain, and Carl Mailhot. In his biography of Arcand, R al La Rochelle quotes what his protagonist told him about the NFB filmmakers and their impact on him:
They were always ready to party. They smoked, drank, stayed up all night. They were completely free spirits. The student [Arcand] was equally enthused by their way of dressing, their constant travel (to France, Nigeria, the United States and all over Quebec and Canada), their bohemian flair, their money and their culture. Whereas Arcand had a classical education in music, Gilles Groulx was a walking encyclopedia of jazz, of which the aspiring filmmaker knew nothing-Groulx had known Paul- mile Borduas and the Automatistes. Michel Brault held forth about photography, Cartier-Bresson and Steichen. Claude Jutra knew the works of Cocteau, Truffaut and Bertolucci and talked about these filmmakers as if they were friends. 19
This way of knowing the world, of being in the world and acting on it, was completely new to these young directors. The discipline of the classical colleges was now matched by an eagerness to play on the larger stage that film offered. The top had come off the oppression of the dark years, the world had opened up, and the effect was electric. Arcand entered the NFB the following year to learn to make films and eventually acquired the reputation he had so admired in others as a worldly, masterful director. Early in his career, La maudite galette was invited to the Cannes Film Festival in 1972, and an invitation for Le d clin de l empire am ricain followed in 1986. He would go on to win an Oscar in 2004 for Les invasions barbares.
This small, quixotic student film Seul ou avec d autres galvanized its makers and launched them into careers that would last, in many cases, half a century. H roux s sexy film Val rie kick-started the private industry in 1968. After a series of similar films, he moved on to produce tax-shelter movies such as Atlantic City (nominated for five Oscars), served on the Federal Cultural Policy Review Committee (1980-1982), and then retired to France. After heading up a federal task force with Stephen Roth in 1985, Raymond co-authored Canadian Cinema: A Solid Base and was still working on film projects with director Claude Fournier decades later. Venne, L tourneau, and Saint-Germain went on to become popular performers in music and television.
This group of students came to filmmaking before either the federal or the provincial government had formulated any policy for the private sector. They were well educated, well connected, and brave, and they proved that, through enterprise and team effort, it was possible to make dramatic feature films.
* * *
The effervescence of Montreal, with its workers at the NFB and Radio-Canada, its magazines, newspapers, theatres, and modernity, seldom reached those making a living in the everyday realm of government-sponsored films. Seen from Quebec City, the province itself was enormous and its regions, rich in possibility. Montreal s intensity seemed unique and almost foreign. The psychological distance between the two cities would persist for decades. 20
In 1941, the government had established a small unit, the film and photography office [Service de cin -photographie] reporting directly to the premier s chief of staff. 21 Relocated eventually in the Secr tariat de la province, the office purchased and produced films and photographs that were thought to serve the province. It also employed projectionists to travel around the regions and show them to local audiences. Some films were educational, others were travelogues, and still others publicized the work of various government ministries.
Private producers working in government-sponsored films, called la commandite , lived in Montreal, Quebec City, and smaller cities, but they shared little with the filmmakers attracted by the NFB. In their small, private-sector world, they relied on the province or private companies for orders. Once the film was made, they collected their payment. This branch of filmmaking is seldom considered by scholars who study the history of French-Canadian dramatic features, although for many filmmakers it became the backbone and the main financial support of the private industry throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Without the early sponsored films, the province would not have a dramatic film industry today. iii One of the most remarkable directors of sponsored films was a priest.
Abb Maurice Proulx (1902-1988) was born on a farm in Saint-Pierre-de-la-Rivi re-du-Sud, the eldest of fourteen children. He studied at the classical college in La Pocati re in Kamouraska and at the Grand S minaire de Qu bec, where he was ordained in 1928. After taking up agronomy at Universit Laval, he went to Cornell University in New York for his doctorate. While there, he also discovered movies. In 1933 he convinced his clerical superiors to purchase a Kodak film camera and began to film the life around him. For his subsequent pioneering work, he received the Order of Canada in 1986.
Proulx began making films for the provincial government and, from 1934 to 1936, he documented the opening of Abitibi for the minist re de la Colonisation et de l Agriculture. His feature, En pays neuf , which was post-produced in part in New York City, in 1937, is now a classic-the first feature documentary made in the province. Film historian Peter Morris calls it a propaganda film, made to affirm the provincial policy of relocating unemployed urban workers to the regions in an ambitious return-to-the-land policy. 22 This watershed documentary shows heartrending scenes of whole families disembarking the train in their city clothes, women in high heels carrying a suitcase and a shovel, ready to attempt to turn rock-bound forests into an agriculture paradise. Proulx was a different sort of filmmaker-one from rural Quebec. His years of teaching agronomy in La Pocati re and of filming in the regions gave him an intimate knowledge of that land, its people, their problems and desires. He went on to make thirty-six films for the Service de cin -photographie of the provincial government.
Jean-Marie Nadeau, iv who played a critical role in the development of provincial film policy, is often cited in the credits of Proulx s documentaries. 23 Nadeau co-directed and did the camera work on Les les-de-la-Madeleine (1956) with Proulx. He was cameraman and editor on Au royaume du Saguenay (1957), and soundman on La culture mara ch re en volution (1961). 24 Proulx chose him to produce the non-governmental film Penser avant de d penser , sponsored by the F d ration des Caisses populaires Desjardins du Qu bec in 1958. The two men often travelled up the Saint Lawrence together, from Les les de la Madeleine to the Saguenay to Quebec City, as they made other films together- Par-dessus nos rivi res and Le bar du Saint-Laurent. 25 Nadeau was comfortable directing, filming, editing, and working on sound.
Unusually for that period, however, Nadeau became an entrepreneur. Letterhead in the provincial archives identifies him as president of Nova Films in Quebec City. Nova Films was typical of small companies at the time. Founded by Nadeau and Fernand Rivard, 26 it employed between three and eight people, depending on the contract, producing films for both television and for the government. 27 By 1959, the company had grown from a contractual participant on Proulx s films to the lead producer on a major shoot for M decine d aujourd hui (fifteen reels), a film designed to show the public the great progress taking place in modern hospitals in Quebec City. To grow from cameraman to producer and to take on the responsibility of employing other professionals indicates that Nadeau was committed to making a living in film. Working in sponsored films is not about self-expression. It is about establishing a viable occupation in a resilient business.
On February 21, 1961, Nadeau wrote a letter to Alphonse Riverain, the director of research services at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. 28 This letter provides the smoking gun of provincial film policy, as shall become clear. Up to the 1960s, cinema seems to have been principally a regulatory problem for the province geared to protecting public morality as defined by the Catholic Church. As early as 1909, the government passed a censorship law, which it revised in 1911. In the 1960s, censorship was still an important and controversial issue, judging by the attention paid to it in Objectif.
Other than as an object for the censor, film was conceived by the government as an educational tool and, sometimes, a medium of publicity. The Service de cin -photographie was established to gather the photographs and films essential for these goals. In 1960, the Secr tariat inherited the service from the premier s office. It was reconstituted as the Office du film de la province de Qu bec (OFQ). 29 A staff of eighty-seven occupied offices in Quebec City and Montreal, and the office spent a total of $263,961 to purchase films, mostly from non-Quebec sources, such as the Encyclopedia Britannica , and less than half that, $123,810, to produce them. It sent its projectors and projectionists around the province, and, after 3,222 screenings, had reached more than two million viewers.
However, for Jean-Marie Nadeau and Nova Films, filmmaking was a business venture, and, in the absence of any government policy, its future was uncertain. Nadeau came to filmmaking just at the time that television came to the province, upsetting everything that had been stable in the audio-visual world. If a few filmmakers had been secure in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s working in government-sponsored films, that was no longer true. Moreover, Radio-Canada was turning increasingly to in-house production.
Fortunately, Nadeau had a friend from the faculty of social sciences at Universit Laval, Ren Tremblay, who, in the 1960s, was the deputy minister of Industry and Commerce. Nadeau was the first to suggest to the ministry that it should undertake a serious study of the potential economic impact of film production in the province. The letter from Nadeau to Alphonse Riverain, the director of research in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, dated February 21, 1961, relates this story. 30 As president of Nova Films, Nadeau was concerned about the state of film production. He made a movie that expressed these concerns, one that allowed us to further articulate our thoughts. He convinced both Tremblay and the minister to attend a screening of the film. That led to his introduction to Riverain, who was in a position to trigger a study on film production. Riverain met with Nadeau and suggested that he call on Jacques Saint-Laurent, an economist at Universit Laval, ostensibly to assess whether he, Saint-Laurent, would be an appropriate researcher on the subject. Nadeau s letter traces this history and confirms that the meeting with Saint-Laurent led to his renewed contact with Riverain. They signed a contract, and Saint-Laurent agreed to take on the first economic study of the film industry in Quebec.
Only one year had passed since the Liberals replaced Duplessis s Union Nationale, and the time was ripe for new beginnings. This first initiative to provoke the development of film policy came from a workaday producer in Quebec City. Might it have come from one of the filmmakers trained at the National Film Board? The answer is probably no. It was the smaller, provincial filmmaker who was ready to play Quebec City s game, who shared the social, collective awareness of the provincial capital. Nadeau lived there, in a government town. He was among the elite who had been educated in a classical college. He was reported to have earned a master s degree from Universit Laval in economics. 31 His classmates would have been among the men who populated the provincial government. Moreover, he must have been comfortable in his religion to have worked so closely with Abb Proulx over so many years. Finally, he was working in film to make a living, not to make a personal or artistic statement. He knew how the provincial government operated and on whom to call. He worked in traditional documentary filmmaking, hardly one to promote revolution over continuity. His suggestion of an economic study was directly in line with the goals of the new Lesage government, which was concerned with moving the economy of the province forward. His stroke of genius may have been to make the film that convinced the minister. v In Marshall McLuhan s aphorism, the medium was indeed the message.
In contrast, the NFB filmmakers were Montrealers for the most part. Those born in the regions-Denys Arcand, for one-were schooled in Montreal s classical colleges and went on to Universit de Montr al. Their society was more complex, and the provincial government seemed distant. Once at the NFB, they were swept up in federal issues, and some wrote with Marxist overtones. The board and Radio-Canada were in their sights, and gaining autonomy for Francophones within the board would become an urgent issue. Moreover, they were artists, privileged to work creatively without the constraints of the private sector. Their sense of aesthetic entitlement rather than economic contribution-the notion that they should be given budgets to work with rather than earn them from the supply and demand of the market-would have been seen as revolutionary from Quebec City. Not only had Duplessis referred to these filmmakers as communists, but, in 1952, he had also forbidden the screening of NFB films in Quebec s schools. 32 It would be another decade before the province began to think of underwriting production. Lastly, many at the NFB aspired to express themselves through drama and dramatic feature-length films. At the time of Saint-Laurent s study, fictional features were off the radar of a ministry like Industry and Commerce.
One month after Nadeau s letter to Riverain, on March 24, 1961, the new minist re des Affaires culturelles (MAC) opened for business. The minister, Georges- mile Lapalme, a lawyer and a strong politician, continued to hold on to his previous position as attorney general as well. Once installed, he recruited history professor Guy Fr gault as his Deputy Minister of Culture. Fr gault had recently left Universit de Montr al after seventeen years to become head of the history department at the University of Ottawa. In a general reorganization, the new ministry was formed from pieces that came over from the Secr tariat de la province: archives, provincial museums, historical monuments, public libraries, and the conservatories of music and dramatic arts. The Secr tariat, in turn, inherited the Office du tourisme, the Office du film, the Office d information et de publicit , along with services to companies, the rental commission, and the official provincial publication service. 33
In its early years, cinema was ignored by MAC: movies were perceived as a regulatory issue, not a cultural or economic one. Premier Lesage had taken a direct interest in censorship. In July 1961, he established the awkwardly named Provisional Committee for the Study of Film Censorship in order to Study the Problem of Film Censorship in Quebec [Comit provisoire pour l tude de la censure des films en vue d tudier le probl me de la censure des films au Qu bec]. It reported directly to his office, not to MAC. At the ministry, culture was still elitist. The cultural impact of movies was ignored, although not from lack of familiarity with the medium. In one of this story s small ironies, Fr gault wrote a letter to Guy Glover, an Anglophone producer at the National Film Board, in which he resigned from his position as consultant on a series of films being made on Canadian history, because of potential conflict with his new position in Quebec City. Reflecting the elegance of their relationship, Fr gault wrote his resignation in English; Glover returned the compliment, writing in French to wish the historian well in his new endeavour. 34 Yet Fr gault s personal experiences at the board did not prompt him to consider cinema as culturally important. The MAC had more pressing concerns than to take on the film file.
Not so at Industry and Commerce. Saint-Laurent s fee for his study of the film scene, Industrie du cin ma dans la province de Qu bec, was $2,500, a handsome amount at the time. 35 When he delivered the report on March 25, 1962, it covered the areas that most subsequent studies would also address: production, distribution, exhibition, cultural importance, protectionist government policies in Canada and elsewhere, and the specific difficulties facing cinema in Quebec. 36 It also contained a series of recommendations.
The study is a sober one, but not militant. Aside from the NFB, Saint-Laurent identified twenty-two production companies and fifteen directors in the province who made a living from commercials, news, educational films, and other productions termed amusement. Most of the material went straight to television. Describing NFB personnel, he wrote: There are excellent technicians and artists at the board and, of course, at Radio-Canada. They make up the manpower available to the film industry in Quebec, but they are not part of it. 37 With this key observation-the federal agencies were in Quebec but not of Quebec, and the people working in federal agencies were not part of the film industry in the province-Saint-Laurent established a research trend that was to distort many of the studies and commentaries on the film industry in Quebec for decades to come. 38
Subsequent studies, in their attempt to define la nation , will try to superimpose the geographical territory of the province of Quebec on the emotional map of French Canadians-an impossible task. These earlier studies presented the notion that, although activity took place within the province, it did not contribute to the local industry because it was under federal guise.
Saint-Laurent went on to document the dominant position of American distribution companies and the inability of small exhibitors to get first-run films. He outlined the protective measures (quotas and levies) used in other countries to rectify these problems. He noted that the cinema sector in the province was blocked culturally, because our culture does not compete with American culture; it s completely absent. 39
Studies such as this one, meant to be an exercise in objective fact-finding, can be interpreted in several ways. From an industrial point of view, the film sector in Quebec was negligible: twenty-two small companies employing fifteen directors producing short films. In his cultural analysis, this economist simply said it had no impact: French-Canadian culture was absent as far as the general public was concerned. Readers could interpret this finding as a cause for despair, or for jubilation-an opportunity to grow and develop. For Saint-Laurent, there was no specific cultural challenge to engage. Given that the province s expenditure for film production was $123.000 in 1960, and the federal government was already spending $39.9 million at the CBC and the NFB in 1957-1958, perhaps he did not imagine that the province could or would want to rival the federal government. 40 His mandate was to describe an economic sector, not to conceive of a major change of direction for the industry. His recommendations, therefore, were modest. He suggested three changes in particular: that the provincial government adopt measures allowing documentaries and short films to be shown in theatres; that the amusement tax and a quota system be used to this end; and that the provincial Arts Council at MAC give grants for the production of short films. 41
In May, Deputy Minister Ren Tremblay forwarded the study to his counterpart Guy Fr gault at MAC, stating: The economic value of this industry is minimal, as the author of the report has indicated. On the other hand, this type of industry has significant cultural influence. 42 Tremblay realized that the economic component of the film industry might not matter as much as the cultural. If that were so, then MAC should have a closer look. Fr gault responded with thanks, saying that he had passed the study on to the provincial Arts Council where there is a committee dealing with cinema. In so doing, he dismissed the matter. The council soon after became trapped in administrative limbo, never receiving a budget and never fulfilling its promise. In passing the film file to this group, Fr gault buried it. MAC would not become involved in the project of film production policy until 1970.
Despite Fr gault s dismissal of the matter, demand for the study ran so high that it had to be reprinted. Jacques Godbout, writing from Montreal on behalf of the filmmakers new organization, the Association professionnelle des cin astes (APC), asked for twelve copies. 43 Previously, the province s interest had been restricted to the censorship of commercial features and the production of sponsored films, but now there was excitement about a potential film industry on a grander scale.
However, people at Nova Films thought the study had missed its mark. They understood that it was the cultural impact of filmmaking which was to become important to the people of the province, not its economic strength. Pierre Dumas, a director at Nova Films, produced another study on December 22, 1962: The Cultural Launch of Cinema in the Province of Quebec. 44 Unlike Saint-Laurent s staid appraisal, Dumas s was a heartfelt appeal with several goals: to situate the problems of the industry in context, to demand intervention by the state, to suggest a rational plan to stimulate public production, and to enable private enterprise to become self-sufficient and not reliant on government grants. Unlike Saint-Laurent s study, which began with local activity, Dumas worked backward, stating that the commercial box office in the province was $417.4 million in 1960. This amount was earned exclusively by foreign producers from France, England, and the United States. As other countries had taken action against this colonialisme culturel , he challenged the province to act. In the main, he repeated the statistics found in Saint-Laurent s study, but also cited the Massey Report and gave examples of NFB productions to insist that the cultural importance of cinema is far superior to its economic weight. Saint-Laurent had completely missed this interpretation-the cultural importance of film-and it remains today a central rationale by which to justify the involvement of both federal and provincial governments in film production policies.
Dumas s study contained several interesting comments. Although his emphasis was squarely on the domination of distribution by foreign companies, he stated that the province was not ready for a feature film industry because in addition to needing a huge market, [a feature film industry] is proof of maturity. 45 While such maturity was being developed, the province would do well to adopt a system for its own production like the one at the NFB, which charged production costs back to the ministry that requested the production. He concluded by writing that quotas and other measures would help to produce films that could be screened at festivals and would enjoy international careers. A private film industry would contribute greatly to the cultural influence of the province of Quebec; the government could not do such a thing on its own, unless it allocated to this a budget comparable to that of the NFB. This last point is crucial. Dumas foresaw that private industry could export culture from Quebec in a manner that the provincial government could not do alone, unless it was willing to spend a lot of money. His notion-that this distribution could be done by a self-sufficient private sector that, once up and running, would not require grants-was perhaps utopian, but no doubt welcomed by the government.
Nadeau of Nova Films took it on himself to distribute Dumas s study. 46 A note dated May 1963 contains a long list of people to whom he sent the study, including economist Jacques Saint-Laurent and Massey Commission member Georges-Henri L vesque (both at Universit Laval), Ren L vesque (at Natural Resources), Pierre Laporte (Municipal Affairs), and Claude Jutra (the president of the filmmakers organization APC in Montreal).
Eight months later, in January 1964, Nadeau wrote the first of several sad and final notes on this issue. In what was essentially a major revision of Dumas s study, he signed off on another m moire. In it, he had eliminated much of Dumas s rhetoric and instead wrote eight calm pages about the dire production situation. He then repeated verbatim Dumas s twenty recommendations. Like Dumas, he believed it essential to legislate a quota: The very day that the law is enacted, the whole context of the Quebec film industry will change. 47
Nadeau called a meeting, inviting many bureaucrats, including Guy Fr gault and Andr Gu rin, the head of the film office, the Office du film du Qu bec (OFQ), to hear his position. The archives do not reveal whether they came. Two months later he wrote plaintively to Claude Morin, the deputy minister responsible for federal-provincial relations:
Given that we have the approval and support of the experts at the ministry of Industry and Commerce, we must now make sure that the Premier is made aware of the problem The wave of bankruptcies in the film industry is proof that it s becoming more and more urgent to save it My sole desire is that those with the luck and courage to struggle on are able to benefit from my unfortunate adventure. 48
In the middle of the night on April 3, 1962, the building housing the studio of Nova Films caught fire. The building s owner sued Nova Films and provoked its bankruptcy. Nova joined a long list of film-production companies that, for various reasons, had folded. vi In 1969, Nova s official receiver was ordered to pay $12,293 in the matter. Nadeau died young, in his mid-forties. 49
It is not known why Jean-Marie Nadeau took this crusade on himself and maintained it for four years. People who knew him in this period-Michel Vergnes, Werner Nold, and Doroth e Brisson-do not remember his having any interest in government film policy. However, from the making of his original film about the industry through his circulation of Dumas s study, his invitations, letters, and his final m moire , he certainly raised the consciousness of the bureaucracy to the possibility of a commercial future for producers in Quebec.

i .
The French word objectif means both the lens through which one sees and the objective goal against which one mounts a military campaign.
ii .
Film distributor Andr Link, in the 1950s a recent immigrant from Paris, tells the story of having gone to a library in Montreal to borrow a book by J.-P. Sartre. When the librarian confirmed that he intended to read the book, she told him she would have to report him to his parish priest. As a Jew, he found the encounter hilarious. Personal conversation, July 30, 2007.
iii .
Cinema Canada 74, May 1981: 42. Gilles Carle had been making films since the 1960s like everyone else, project by project, until he finally closed his shop. He explained the relationship among commercials, sponsored films, and features as follows: We put an end to Carle-Lamy [the production company] mostly because I was tired, tired of making too many films to fill up holes in the budgets of other films. It would work like this: Gilles, we re $75,000 in the hole so we have to do a few commercials, fill the hole in one budget and start working on a feature We spent a lot of time doing stupid things.
iv .
He should not be confused with the politician of the same name, who was active in the Liberal government in the 1960s.
v .
There seems to be no trace of the actual film.
vi .
A major depressive factor during this period was that television programs, originally bought from independent producers, were increasingly being made in-house by Radio-Canada staff. As a result, this removed an important potential source of revenue from the private sector. This problem remained an urgent issue for Quebec s producers for decades.
Chapter 3
Meanwhile, in Montreal new energies coalesced in a leftist magazine Parti pris , which issued a broadside to the preceding generation of intellectuals-Pierre Elliott Trudeau, G rard Pelletier, Ren L vesque, and others-who had helped to found Cit libre in 1950. 1 In their first issue published in 1963, the editors of Parti pris stated that the objective, impartial stance of their elders estranged them from reality. By refusing to discuss the particular situation in the province, Cit libre had only distanced itself from ordinary folk, le peuple qu b cois. Instead, the writers of this young magazine called for revolution:
We must liberate ourselves from those who, both inside and outside Quebec, dominate us economically and ideologically and who profit from our alienation. Independence is just one component of the liberation of the Qu b cois through revolution. We are fighting for a free, secular and socialist state. 2
The echo of Refus global was unmistakable. Parti pris undertook to demystify the structures and ideologies that held the province in thrall and to make them transparent.
The effect was electric, and thinking people on all sides took note. Writers in Quebec began tearing out the old growth of rationality, religion, and conformity and experimenting with the new seeds of passion, socialism, and independence. Other writers in North America tried to measure the impact of this change. In 1962, the Winnipeg Free Press published five articles dealing with the growth of ideas about separation in Quebec. 3 One of them, an interview with Ren L vesque, concluded that the minister seemed more worried about separatism than anyone else the author had interviewed.
The following year, the Montreal Star organized a large conference for English-language journalists and newspaper editors from across Canada. The Colloquium on French Canada was held at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and provided an expert, insightful, and emotional snapshot of the mood of the province, offered by its leading public intellectuals. Andr Laurendeau, the editor of Le Devoir , spoke about the French Fact, reminding attendees that the oldest ideology, and still the most lively, is certainly nationalism. 4 He traced its development from Henri Bourassa s cultural nationalism (1910) to Abb Lionel Groulx s ethnic nationalism and the call to become masters in our own house. In a moving analysis, he explained that French Canadians had always thought of themselves as a people of no great import who have nothing but their own resources to count on. 5 This feeling of alienation was so real and profound that, having existed in solitude and without help, the people were tempted to live this solitude to the end. 6 This threat of retreating from the larger world was a leitmotif for the other speakers. L vesque recognized that too few people were educated and competent-making it difficult, for instance, for the provincial government to recruit good staff. If the economy was sick, however, he thought nationalization might be a cure. The province had recently decided to nationalize electricity, so his point was no abstraction. 7 However, he was not yet ready to leave the federation.
Eric Kierans, the chairman of the Montreal Stock Exchange and the only Anglophone among the speakers, cautioned: The mood, not of revolt but of protest, is deep and pervasive, and it won t go away. 8 Journalist G rard Pelletier shared his reflections. Although acknowledging ill will on the part of many in the English-speaking community in Quebec, he said: No French Canadian believes there s an Anglo conspiracy, and separatists least of all. It s a question of the guy who sits on your hat and doesn t move it because it s too soft. 9 He thought separatism was an evasion from sound political reasoning and lamented its power among young French Canadians. In the absence of any other ideas, he foresaw a major disaster looming. In all the presentations, the speakers were ambivalent on this issue: while they felt that independence would be unpredictable and possibly dangerous, they acknowledged that yearning for separation would be consistent with Quebec s long spiritual and historical experience of being isolated and ignored.
At the provincial Ministry of Industry and Commerce, bureaucrats opened a file in which to put evidence of the growing separatist sentiment. Though not yet a movement, separatism worried people in government. 10 A two-page report came from Paris in February 1963 about the founding meeting of the French committee for the independence of Quebec and Eastern Canada. It reported that the committee was using fascist methods and had the backing of the French military. 11 The file also contained an exchange of letters between G rard D. L vesque, the minister of Hunting and Fisheries, and John McCallum, the editor of Independent Businessmen in Toronto. In March 1964, McCallum sent along a copy of the article Dictatorship-Threat of the BNA Act, highlighting a comment by author John Fenston: He says the only solution to our Canadian problem is that Quebec should be given the status of a state within the Federated States of Canada. In addition, there is a tract, dated May 1964, from the Propaganda Office, Youth Movement of Quebec, 12 threatening to kill the Queen on her next visit. Signed Guy de Pierrefeu, it outlined the plan:
A vile crime, agreed; the violence, the civil war will enflame the province and incite the Anglophone population en masse against the French Canadians, and violence will lead to violence, the civil war will enflame the province, as a prelude to the disruption of the political order out of which will emerge the independence of Quebec and the proletarian liberation of French Canada. 13
Although this unknown group might be dismissed, what came next could not. In September 1964, employees Leslie McWilliams and Alfred Pinisch were killed during a break-in at International Firearms Co. in Montreal by a gang of self-appointed terrorists looking for ammunition. 14 In October Foreign Affairs wrote about Quebec in Revolt, and the following February Fortune magazine wrote about the Revolt of French Canada. The fact that separatism was becoming an option in the province was now newsworthy outside the borders of Canada. In this heated-up context, filmmakers in Quebec came together to stake out their right to association and to self-expression through film.
* * *
In the 1950s, the French-speaking filmmakers at the National Film Board were simply individuals in a team of filmmakers within the English-speaking bureaucracy. In those years they had been learning their craft. As one anonymous filmmaker expressed it: The NFB was a big college. The commissioner was the father superior and the head of production was the prefect of discipline. 15 They had been so busy making films, they had felt no need to organize. However, as they gained recognition for their work, they grew in confidence and stature and they began to feel more sharply their lack of influence and power in the administration of the board. They also dreamed of working in a private sector, which would free them to produce feature films.
The 1960s ushered in a period full of new political ideas. Both provincially and across Canada, change was palpable and different ideas were working themselves out in practice. In Quebec City, new ministries were created and the bureaucracy was reorganized. Individuals were organizing themselves into groups, and groups were getting together in larger councils. Film directors in Ontario established the Directors Guild of Canada in 1961, and it soon joined with three other filmmaking groups to form the Motion Picture Production Council. 16 Its goal was to promote an industry to support feature-film production in Canada. The Production Council, like the NFB filmmakers, was aware that the federal Royal Commission on Government Organization (Glassco Commission 1960-1963) might make recommendations about the federal cultural agencies. In this atmosphere of forward, liberal change, there seemed to be an opening for filmmakers not only to formulate their ideas and options but also to make them known.
In the fall of 1962, seven French-Canadian NFB filmmakers took the lead and called a meeting for November 13. 17 A total of sixty-one people showed up. 18 Many meetings took place in the months that followed, culminating in an agreement on the statutes of a new organization on February 5, 1963-the Association professionnelle des cin astes (APC) [the professional association of filmmakers]. Although it would wax and wane over the next few years, its trajectory across the face of film policy is revealing. The overriding tension within it stemmed from two conflicting goals: the need for solidarity among the members in order to form an effective lobby, and the realization that personal objectives could be better served by independent individual action. In practice, this tension continued to play out as groups from the filmmakers APC established particular craft associations: technicians, producers, directors, distributors, exhibitors, and actors. By the 1970s, all these organizations were in place, and the APC was no longer viable.
* * *
Two days before that initial founding meeting of what would become the APC, the members of the planning committee were still debating what they would call it. On November 11, 1962, their preparatory meeting went long into the night. Their discussion revealed the diverse points of view among the filmmakers-differences that would influence the sort of policy recommendations they later made.
Some French-Canadian scholars writing after 1976, when enthusiasm for sovereignty brought the Parti Qu b cois to power, tend to backdate attitudes and write into the creation of the APC an intention to create a national cinema. 19 However, the association s goals, as defined in its application for incorporation, do not confirm this interpretation. 20 Instead, the cohesive force among members was the desire to protect common interests, whether economic, social, or moral. There is no doubt that, in its many briefs, the APC used the rhetoric of nation and identity to convince politicians of the urgent need for legislation. However, the priority for the filmmakers was to build an economically profitable private industry-as the subsequent development of their activities and associations made clear.
In 1962, there was still considerable confusion about an appropriate name to define this group of filmmakers. Like its English equivalent filmmaker, cin aste is a generic term and its meaning is imprecise. By the time the charter was accepted in February 1963, the association defined eligible members as persons duly recognized as cinematic creators who have taken part professionally in the artistic creation of films in the preceding four years. 21 Creators, as outlined in the letter of invitation to that meeting, included cameramen, directors, sound engineers, editors, scriptwriters, actors, producers, commentators, composers, film animators, set decorators, etc. 22 -in other words, just about anyone who had worked on a film.
In the search to find a representative name, meeting minutes show that two words were agreed on by all: association and cin astes. The adjectives that modify these words gave the founders trouble, because they would define the nature of the group to those outside it. The association could be nationale, professionnelle, canadienne , or am ricaine , and the cin astes could be du Qu bec, canadiens, canadiens d expression fran aise [French-speaking Canadians], or d expression fran aise de l Am rique du Nord [French-speaking from North America]. The options were wide-ranging and evocative. Jacques Godbout warned against association canadienne because its translation into English would mislead those abroad. Claude Jutra objected to two of the options: to professionnelle , because it seemed amateurish, and to expression fran aise , because it emphasized the group s minority position. With his French background, Arthur Lamothe liked association am ricaine , as long as it was clear that the filmmakers were French speaking. With the ribald humour for which he was known, Claude Fournier wondered why this group was going to refuse [membership] to Anglophones who do exist to accept four Negroes and seven Indians who do not exist. 23 When the meeting concluded after midnight, the decision seemed to be to present three options, with the recommendation that Association canadienne des cin astes be adopted. However, a ballot in the same archive presents eleven options, and the vote confirmed Association professionnelle des cin astes.
Clearly, the APC was the creation of French-speaking filmmakers and many members, but not all of them, identified as French Canadian. In the final founding document, approved in February 1963, this ethnic bias was muted. Although an earlier draft of the constitution indicated that members must be French speaking, the final conditions of membership did not make language a criterion. 24 In fact, the minutes of the April meeting confirm immigrant Hungarians John Kemeny and George Kaczender, who worked in English production, as new members. 25 At the suggestion of Guy-L. C t , the requirement that French be the language for debate and the recording of minutes was moved from the body of the constitution to the regulations, giving it less importance and making modifications easier. All in all, in selecting a name and deciding on membership requirements and basic administration, the APC looked to the future. Clearly, the association was more concerned with growth and inclusiveness than with defining itself narrowly as representing or articulating only the French-Canadian nation.
With the establishment of the APC, the film milieu in the province finally had a representative body, ready to participate in creating the conditions to allow profitable film work in the private sector. Now it was up to the provincial government to define those conditions.
* * *
The development of policy related to film censorship in Quebec was foremost in the minds of the Lesage Liberals, who took office on June 22, 1960, and of the Catholic Church, which continued to insist on its right to be consulted about issues of public morality. 26 With the well-publicized censorship of Hiroshima mon amour that year, the matter was widely debated across the province and in the press. It had been censorship, after all, that prompted the first study of cinema under the new regime.
Reporting directly to the premier s office, the Provisional Committee for the Study of Film Censorship 27 was created in July 1961 and headed by Father Louis-Marie R gis. Its final report (known as the Rapport R gis ) was written by Maurice Leroux, Lesage s information officer, who followed the committee s work closely. It called for profound changes to the censorship board, and its forward-looking recommendations-outlining a system of film classification to replace outright censorship-were urgently needed. In March of the following year, Jacques Saint-Laurent submitted his study about the economic state of the cinema industry to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and, in December, Pierre Dumas followed with his appeal to recognize the cultural relevance of cinema. That was how things stood in January 1963.
That year, an important idea emerged urging that new legislation be framed to deal with both censorship and the film industry itself. Previously, the censorship board had been under the authority of the attorney general. Later, in the general reorganization prompted by the creation in 1961 of the cultural ministry, the minist re des Affaires culturelles (MAC), it was moved to the Secr tariat de la province. Similarly, the provincial film office, the Service de cin -photographie , which had reported directly to the premier s office before it was renamed the Office du film de la province de Qu bec (OFQ), was also transferred to the Secr tariat that same year. In the view of the provincial government, these offices provided regulatory services and were not cultural as such. As for the nascent industry, it had generated interest in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. How was it that these two disparate interpretations about film-as a regulatory problem to resolve or as an industrial challenge to engage-became married in this new notion of a framework law-a loi-cadre de cin ma -combining the regulatory, economic, and cultural aspects of cinema?
First, there were the filmmakers at the National Film Board: APC. Achieving such a law would address and resolve many of the issues underlying its founding goals, although the implementation of legislation was not yet a stated objective. 28 The push for such a law would, however, become a major focus of the association by 1964. Second, there was the province. Bureaucrats would begin to mention the idea of a framework law following the completion of a large, in-depth study that was undertaken by the cinema committee of the Council for the economic orientation of Quebec [Conseil d orientation conomique du Qu bec (COEQ)]. Two of its authors, Arthur Lamothe and Andr Gu rin, were instrumental in articulating the basic idea for this law.
Maurice Leroux had enjoyed wide contacts even before he edited the Rapport R gis , and he knew Arthur Lamothe and Andr Gu rin personally. Like them, he was a cin phile who would escape at times and travel to New York City to see movies. Before joining the government, Leroux had been a director at Radio-Canada, and it was there that he met Lamothe. Leroux later remembered that this short, fiery Frenchman joined Radio-Canada in 1958, fresh off the boat from his home in the Gers, south of Bordeaux and west of Toulouse-Armagnac country. 29 In fact, Lamothe got status as a landed immigrant in 1953 and studied economics at the Universit de Montr al from 1954 to 1958, before joining Radio-Canada. 30 He became a permanent employee there, responsible for the daily program Ce soir (1958-1960) and then served as a researcher for the two political series L v nement and Premier Plan. We were quite close at that time, 31 Leroux said. On one occasion, Leroux asked Lamothe to help him to write a speech that the premier had to give before an association of radio station owners. Lamothe s memories are a little different-that he wrote several speeches for the premier and was flattered when one of them was remarked upon in the French daily Le Monde. Either way, Lamothe was on the provincial radar as an excellent writer-researcher and a man who could contribute verve to a speech if necessary.
Andr Gu rin had gone to College Bourget in Rigaud with Leroux before transferring to Coll ge Jean-de-Br beuf. The two men met again in Europe when Gu rin s work in international sales for the National Film Board took him abroad. Thinking back, Leroux said: I knew him well. He was a man of great class, an excellent administrator, and one who knew cinema well. When the government was searching for a new director of the censorship board in 1963, Leroux, who was filling the position on an interim basis, recommended Gu rin, who was then offered the position.
A few years later, when Ren L vesque broke with the Liberal Party, Leroux left politics to work for himself in public relations. He eventually lost interest in these issues. Nevertheless, he introduced both Arthur Lamothe and Andr Gu rin to provincial politics, and they, in turn, became major influences on provincial film policy making. In 1980, Lamothe would be the first recipient of the Prix Albert-Tessier for his overall contribution to cinema in Quebec. Gu rin would serve for twenty-five years as head of film classification, helping to bring the relations between producers, distributors, and exhibitors into a modern framework, with the aim of serving the public.
On April 26, 1963, Andr Gu rin joined the provincial civil service as president of the censorship board, the Bureau de censure du cin ma (BCC) and director of the film office, the Office du film de la province de Qu bec (OFQ). His nomination officially affirmed the desire of the government to reform and bring together all government services that oversee cinema and photography in Quebec. Gu rin was given the mandate to undertake a preliminary study with respect to new legislation on censorship and cinema. 32 It set in motion the policy-drafting activities that would eventually result in Bill 52 (1967-creation of the film classification board, the Bureau de surveillance) and the first film framework law, the Loi-cadre du cin ma (1975).
One lingering question is why Gu rin chose to make a career in the provincial civil service. The son of a successful lawyer and a graduate of Universit de Montr al, he went on to earn a master s degree in public administration at Harvard. With diplomas in philosophy, social sciences, economics, and political science, he passed the federal exam for diplomatic service and entered External Affairs in Ottawa, where he was assistant secretary to the Canadian delegation at the United Nations. He moved to the National Film Board as deputy director of the commercial service and, later, as deputy director of the international service-a position that required him frequently to travel abroad. 33 It seems strange that he traded this glamour to be head of a small department of sponsored films and chief censor in one of the most repressive censorship boards in the Western world.
Andr Link, who co-founded the production / distribution company Cinepix in 1962 and was still active at Christal Films in 2008, believed that Gu rin understood and needed the challenge. He felt that probably he could do something because the state of cinema prior to his arrival at the [censor] board was positively scandalous, he said. 34 It was not only backward but corrupt. A distributor would show a film to the censor, who would order cuts. They could be done by only one or two men who worked at the censorship board. They cut the films at night and charged horrendous amounts: $500 to $1,000, in cash. If a distributor made cuts independently, the film would be rejected again. It was a scandalous way of extorting money from distributors, Link said. Corruption was not its only vice; aesthetic barbarism was evident in the mutilation of films like the masterpieces Les Enfants du paradis and Hiroshima mon amour. The challenge of establishing acceptable Western standards at the censorship board was considerable. Gu rin s hand on memo after memo in the various archives through the years seems to confirm that he had a personal mission: to drag the province into modernity via the magic light from the cinema screen.
Immediately after Gu rin joined the civil service, work began at the economic council (COEQ) on the large study investigating the impact of cinema in the province, with Gu rin and Lamothe as major contributors. Although the provincial archives do not reveal the structure of the study group, Lamothe said that individuals worked on their various chapters independently. He was the author of the introductory chapter on cinema and culture, Gu rin examined censorship and classification, and Guy-L. C t wrote about distribution. 35 At the time, both Lamothe and C t were NFB employees and founding members of the filmmakers association, the APC. Conflict of interest did not seem to be a problem.
On July 3, 1963, Gu rin wrote to Claude Jutra, the president of the APC, asking the association to provide a normative study on cinema in Quebec as well as a sociological, psychological and economic analysis of the human factors of production. 36 To presume that a group of filmmakers could be counted on to provide such an in-depth analysis in so many fields might be astonishing today. At the time, it was simply confirmation that Gu rin, who knew the NFB filmmakers personally, was aware of their educational backgrounds and that he trusted their ability and desire to carry out such a request. None had gone to a film school: there were no such schools in Canada at the time. 37 In September, he sent a more formal letter to the APC, asking for input from the association but making no mention of his previous contact. In it, he defined the mission of the committee: to study all aspects of the film industry with respect to production, distribution and exhibition. One of the immediate objectives is to prepare for the province s legislators a report outlining all of the major themes of a bill. 38 He suggested a meeting two days later-short notice, which implies that Jutra must already have been advised of his plan. Clearly, there was complicity between the two men in the gathering of information for the study.
The new structure, the economic council (COEQ), had been created in 1961 and was attached to the government s executive council. It commissioned studies in various economic sectors as part of its plan to develop the province. 39 On November 1, 1963, it tabled a five-volume, 350-page report after just seven months of preparation. Of the greatest significance, the report recognized that censorship and industry were two sides of the same problem. The direction in which the province would now move-toward a framework loi-cadre -was expressed in all Gu rin s subsequent internal memos. The scene was set, through rational and democratic legislation, for Quebec to join other nations in the commercial production and exploitation of the modern feature film. 40
The cinema study was organized into five chapters. It set out both the philosophy and the data that would eventually drive the province to legislate in support of a film industry. The opening contextual chapter, as well as the chapter on film classification and the conclusions, are inspired pieces of writing.
Chapter 1 provided the context for the rest of the study. It is a wideranging, philosophical text, ambitious in its reach. It aspired to present a portrait of the actual situation of cinema in Quebec and to specify the links between Quebec cinema and international cinema. [To investigate] the place of [cinema] in the development of the sensibility of peoples. 41 The study then evolved from the global to the specific: chapter 1 gave a historical and philosophical world view of the context of cinema and culture; chapter 2 presented a statistical study of global national cinema; chapter 3 provided statistics on cinema (production, distribution, and exhibition) in the province of Quebec; chapter 4 dealt with film classification in Quebec and in other countries; and chapter 5 outlined a three-year plan for the implementation of a provincially-funded autonomous film body: the cinema centre [Centre cin matographique du Qu bec (CCQ)]. There were three departments in the organizational chart of the CCQ: an office of cinema industries, a classification service, and a provincial film office.
The subtext of the first chapter was a refutation of the right of the Catholic Church to decide which films were appropriate for Quebec citizens to see. While the language was never so blunt, the writers knew that the church stood in the way of modernizing the structures that regulated censorship. Until the public could decide for itself what it wanted to view, there would be little reason to encourage filmmakers secular creativity through private-sector production. In this stance, the study joined a decades-long discussion about the church and the role of the state-including the echo of the Objectif editorial of May 1962. The church, through its National Catholic Centre of Diffusion Technologies, had responded to the R gis Report in these words:
We must recognize notably the fundamental role of the State in ensuring a climate of wholesome public morality, an integral part of the common good.
This is an imperative of natural law, which precedes all positive human law.
There is no doubt that positive human laws are no substitute for conscience or for educators, parents or spiritual guides. 42
The office held that the R gis recommendations constituted a systematic and glib negation of the influence of cinema in terms of psychology and morality. 43 The battle lines were clear. The church believed in natural law, which set God and His Church above civil authorities. This stand reflected the historical ultramontane position of the clergy in Quebec, where church authorities had always been active censors. Their diktats would trump any civil positivist positions. Moreover, the nefarious moral and psychological effects of commercial cinema, given the suggested recommendations, brooked no discussion.
The overarching argument of the study was economic at base. The mandate of the council was, after all, to plan for economic development, and the importance of economic factors was explored in chapter 3 . However, the meta-argument was not so straightforward. Chapter 1 was dominant, both by its position and its content, and, unless its premises were accepted-that the state has a duty to lead and, if necessary, to override religious influences-none of the following chapters could have any effect. Oppression came not only from external forces but, even more significantly, from forces inside the province that were a constant threat to its progress. This theme of hegemony had been captured in the Refus global in 1948. Now this theme would be repeated by Arthur Lamothe in many of his subsequent texts and, throughout his career, in his many documentaries about the lives of First Nations people in Canada. It was also an idea to which Gu rin would remain acutely sensitive, in both his personal and his professional life. 44
Entitled Cin ma et culture , Lamothe s first chapter established the background of the study: for six months a group had researched and consulted others to establish what cinema-as an art and as a social-economic medium-might become in the province. 45 Ultimately it would recommend the drafting of a framework law, a loi-cadre , to deal with several issues such as production, distribution, and exhibition; a variety of policies to promote feature films through grants, loans, and quotas; the development of a film culture through school programs; and the establishment of either a branch within the ministry or a centre cin matographique to administer the whole set of recommendations.
This chapter referred to the historical development of visual art, from cathedrals and illustrated manuscripts to films. It explained why television fails to move the soul, and why some filmmakers want to show images inimical to the commercial market. It maintained that feature films are more effective than tourist films in attracting visitors to the province. It claimed that cinema will have a positive influence on public attitudes: [Cinema] would exorcize the regressive ideas on economic activity, the withdrawal into self, the eternal turning back to roots, the conservative nationalism. 46 And it asked: How can movies catapult the general public into a wider world? In answer, it replied that cinema has great purifying value. It is the high liturgy during which the crowds take part in exorcism by the audio-visual realm viewers identify with a collective feeling. 47 Some scholars have interpreted phrases such as this last one ( le spectateur s identifie un sentiment collectif ) as an indication that film policy was motivated by the search for a specific French-Canadian identity, given the implosion of former values. Lamothe, C t , and Gu rin, however, were cosmopolitans with a large view of the world. They were preoccupied with moving the population out of the isolation of the Duplessis years rather than recreating a homogeneous and distinct identity for the people of Quebec. The call was to become a citizen of the world.
Having established the function of cinema as exorcism, the writers went on to elucidate the political and economic situation of the industry, starting with exhibition. An organizational chart of the largest theatre owner, United Amusement-Famous Players, reinforced the argument in the text. Referring to the difficult time all independent (not foreign-owned) players had experienced, the study noted that it was not a moral problem but one of economic structures, tied to an indifference on the part of the government. What was needed was some action by the State, an action counterbalanced through referral to a cultural policy, to historical and economic data, and by a thorough analysis of the interplay of social interactions [that] could change the cultural policy of these monopolistic groups. 48
Referring to the situation at the time, the authors deplored the snobbish attitude of art houses, claiming they had divided the public and alienated the plumbers. They also blamed the priests, who showed movies at five cents a head in church basements in perfectly illegal conditions, drawing business away from commercial theatres and encouraging distributors to show movies that contained sex and violence in an effort to attract the public.
The National Film Board was highly praised for its role in training filmmakers according to a tradition of research and high-quality work within a liberal framework in which different currents were able to develop. 49 Finally, the authors pointed to the APC, which had 105 members: 40 from the private sector and 65 from the NFB and Radio-Canada. This group had the human energy and the passion to overcome the obstacles before it and to find new production models. The chapter concluded with an echo of Refus global: All action within the cultural order arises from a refusal. 50 By refusing to make traditional tourist films, the French-speaking filmmakers at the NFB had developed new forms. Now they should have employment options other than with the board. The normal challenge for a filmmaker was to have success with the public and to recoup the cost of production. Referring for the first time to the state , rather than to the province, this first chapter issued a call to arms:
It is urgent that the State of Quebec tear down the walls faced by those producing feature films so that they encounter only normal challenges and so the sun may finally rise upon the production, in the private sector, of national feature films. There can be no great cinema without freedom, illumination, competition. 51
The purpose of this chapter of the study was to situate cinema in a global context as the most modern of arts, to insist on its ability to influence spectators positively, and to outline the political and economic obstacles to the development of an industry in the province of Quebec. In its direct appeal to the government, it addressed the province s civil status as a state, with the authority and powers to act. Moreover, it claimed that, in the absence of government intervention, the monopolistic (and international) forces impinging on the industry would thwart any independent attempt at industrial development.
The study provided a wealth of such detail in all its chapters. Its importance was that, by building on Saint-Laurent s study of the previous year, it outlined for the first time issues that had become familiar to all those interested in film policy in Canada, and it gave shape and direction to the legislation to come.
Finally, the study presented a plan for the creation of a feature film industry in Quebec. Modelling itself after French structures, it opted for an autonomous cinema centre to contain most functions and services dealing with film in the province, rather than a new branch of government, which would be more closely integrated into the ministry. Funds were to come from various direct and indirect sources (e.g., amusement tax, charges for distribution visas, and charges for sponsored films). It advised a quota system that would favour not only films from Quebec but also films from the rest of Canada and France, while new theatre circuits would be established to serve the regions. The whole plan would take three years to implement.
* * *
The minister responsible for the Secr tariat de la province, under whose authority both the censorship board and the film office functioned, was Bona Arsenault. On January 22, 1964, he signed a summary intended for the premier s executive council describing the recent activities of the Secr tariat. 52 It stated that a new law had been drafted, that it adopted the recommendations of the provisional committee headed by Andr Gu rin, and that it would fuse the censorship board and the film office into a single agency to be called Service de classification et de contr le. Whether the committee referred to was the cinema committee of the economic council (COEQ) or a different one is unclear; what is clear is that Gu rin was the principal agent in bringing the law to life. Arsenault went on to say that the above modifications should be made only as part of a framework film law: The need for a new law stems from the steady increase in the production of French-Canadian feature films. 53 He indicated that this new law would be vetted by the economic council. Then he lobbed the opening salvo in what would become a ministerial battle for control of the film file.
Arsenault complained in his memo that the minist re des Affaires culturelles (MAC) had awarded a production grant to an unnamed producer. He maintained that all grants should be awarded by the film office at the Secr tariat. However, Montreal s International Film Festival had already received funding two years running from MAC ($17,000 and $24,000). 54 The ministry had also given $20,000 to the national Catholic Centre for Cinema in 1962 and housed an arts council. There was some ambivalence, therefore, as to the roles of the two ministries concerning cinema.
Before the 1960s, classical culture had always been the provenance of the elite-people like Minister Georges- mile Lapalme and his deputy Guy Fr gault, who were educated in classical colleges and universities. Both men had a keen interest in museums, concerts, and the theatre. They were also grounded in French-Canadian heritage [patrimoine] and understood that historical buildings and artifacts would need protection. 55 They were dismayed by the spoken French of the majority in the province and took a special interest in correcting French usage. As they viewed culture in the early days of MAC, it was not that creation (cultural production) needed to be bolstered but that ways had to be found to extend the culture that already existed to those it had not yet reached. Fr gault s mission was to revive the original spirit of French civilization. To do so, this original French society in North America had to check the process of erosion of the French language and make authentic, universal French essential to all. 56 It was a restorative mission to bolster and burnish what remained of French culture in the province. Unfortunately, it was out of step with the culture of the masses, who were drawn to American mass media through films and television.
Fr gault was the principal architect of MAC and was its deputy minister until August 1975, except for a short period when the Union Nationale was in power in the late 1960s. He was also a deeply religious Catholic who served during mass at his parish church as often as possible. 57 In the early 1960s, although the R gis Report recommended a loosening of censorship, the church, through the national Catholic Centre for Cinema, was extremely active in counter-balancing the province s move toward secularization. The Catholic centre had already established itself with MAC: it had received a grant of $20,000 (from a total MAC grant allocation of $60,000) in 1962. 58 Moreover, there was nothing on provincial screens that would have alerted MAC to the possibility that feature films shown in the province could contribute to French-Canadian culture. None reached the movie houses.
The two most pressing issues at MAC, other than trying to secure a budget for its work, were the relations between Quebec and France and the need to shore up French wherever it was spoken in North America. The Quebec House in Paris and the French language board [Office de la langue fran aise] were eventually created as responses to these concerns. 59 Cinema was a blind spot. It was the old problem of not recognizing an absence as an opportunity.
There is no indication that either Lapalme or Fr gault had travelled widely before taking up his post at MAC. However, Fr gault had done graduate work at the University of Chicago, and both men were fluent English speakers. Gu rin, in contrast, had travelled abroad both through his work at the UN and as international sales representative for the NFB. He favoured a secular understanding of a world in which all peoples could learn from each other, with cinema as the portal of that experience. In the ensuing ministerial manoeuvring for control of the cinema file, these personal orientations became important.
Andr Gu rin had studied at Universit de Montr al, where Guy Fr gault was a professor. They would at least have known about each other: Gu rin was president of the student association, and Fr gault, head of the history department. Gu rin may have been familiar with Fr gault s vision of Quebec and the world-what another student called a certain grand, elevated notion of Quebec. 60 Fr gault would eventually be accused of elitism and a lack of passion, i but his service as deputy minister was sober, orderly, patient, and long-suffering-a solemn, almost religious commitment. 61 He refused to reveal his personal political opinions, because that would have jeopardized the non-political function of the civil service. He had been a founding member of the Acad mie canadienne-fran aise, which was mandated to defend both the French language and Francophone culture from Acadie and Louisiana to Quebec and Manitoba. 62 This defensive stance was inherently a top-down posture: to bring culture, once corrected and purified, to the people. In MAC, he had the tool to fulfil this goal.
Gu rin had different ideas: passionate about cinema, he was devoted to its cause rather than to a generic career in the public service. Both the provincial archives and those at the R gie du cin ma reveal a man who thought strategically about the ways in which to bring film policy to fruition. His world view was a vast, secular one, and the Quebec in his sights at that time was more often the unworldly past than a revolutionary future. He wanted to end the moral tyranny of the church-and to allow the people to decide for themselves which films they would see. Logically, they should also be able to choose their political paths. Gu rin wanted to provide for individual filmmakers to express themselves outside the controlling atmosphere of a state organization like the National Film Board. Fr gault and Gu rin, the former defending what was best in the past, the latter impatient to move toward a different future, were philosophical opposites.
Initially, Gu rin s interests and activities were geared to outflanking MAC and maintaining film legislation under the authority of the Secr tariat. He had established his credentials there and had been given broad responsibility to draft the legislation. Moreover, he headed up both the sponsored films film office and the censorship board. In his speeches, he could address issues of cinema historically, aesthetically, philosophically, and economically. Clearly, he was the most able bureaucrat in the government when it came to movies. He also understood that the unsophisticated and underdeveloped units of which he was head could serve as a launching pad from which to introduce major reforms and initiatives.
Ultimately, MAC bureaucrats became aware of the stakes-the importance of bringing cinema under the authority of the Ministry of Culture-and lobbied to control developments in the film file. Fr gault, however, was a reluctant participant, and it would take MAC years to formulate and have adopted a loi-cadre sur le cin ma that, in essence, had been first drafted at the Secr tariat de la province in 1964. Even after Gu rin s film units were moved to MAC, however, there is little evidence of meetings and contacts between Gu rin and Fr gault. Instead, Gu rin would get another civil servant, more sympathetic to Fr gault, to be his messenger.
* * *
On January 30, 1964, eight days after Bona Arsenault tabled his summary containing news of cinema legislation proposed by the Secr tariat, Gu rin had a meeting with the top echelon of MAC. Among those present were Minister Lapalme, Deputy Minister Fr gault, and Guy Beaulne, the director of the theatre section. 63 This meeting seems to have been a simple courtesy in which Gu rin described the legislation already before the cabinet. It must have come as a surprise; Lapalme, referring to himself in the third person, wrote, It was the first word the minister had had of the project. 64
That the project could be so far along without MAC having been aware of it speaks to the immaturity of the civil service at the time. Barely three years old, MAC had experienced recurrent problems getting organized, and relationships between the ministries may not have been a high priority. 65 Gu rin s overarching concern with cinema was socio-cultural.

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