Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pour la suite du monde / For Those Who Will Follow

Of Whales, the Moon and Men / The Moontrap / For the Ones to Come. CA 1963 © 1962 Office National du Film (Canada). PC: National Film Board of Canada (NFB), Office National du Film du Canada (ONF). La Société Radio-Canada et L'Office National du Film du Canada présentent. P: Jacques Bobet. Directeur de la production: Fernand Dansereau. [Opening credits:] film de Pierre Perrault et de Michel Brault. [End credits:] Pierre Perrault, Michel Brault, Marcel Carrière ont fait ce film. SC: Pierre Perrault, Michel Brault - excerpts from Jacques Cartier: Relations (1545). DP: Michel Brault, Marcel Carrière, Pierre Perrault – assistant à la caméra: Bernard Gosselin - negative: 16 mm – release prints blown up to 35 mm – 1,37:1. M: Jean Cousineau (guitare), Jean Meunier (flûte). S: Pierre Lemelin, Ron Alexander, Roger Lamoureux (à la sonorisation et au mixage). Enregistrement des voix de Belugas (marsouins) ou Delphinapterus leucas: William E. Schevill (Institut oceanographique, Woods Hole, Mass. USA). ED: Werner Nold. Loc: Île-aux-Coudres (Québec, Canada). Commentary reader: Stanley Jackson. Featuring: Léopold Tremblay (marchand et président de la Nouvelle société de la pêche aux marsouins / merchant and president of the new beluga fishing company), Alexis Tremblay (cultivateur and politicien / farmer and politician), Abel Harvey (capitaine et maître de pêche / captain and whaling master), Louis Harvey (cultivateur et chantre d'église / farmer and church cantor), Joachim Harve (capitaine du Nord de l'Île / captain of the Nord de l'Île). Les gens de l'Île aux Coudres ont vécu et joué les événements de ce film en 1962. In French. Not released in Finland – [short American version 84 min], 106 min. A SFI Filmarkivet print of the 106 min version with electronic subtitles in Finnish by Lena Talvio at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (50 Years Ago), 23 May 2013

On-screen introduction: "Jusqu'en 1924, les habitants de l'Île aux Coudres tendaient une pêche aux marsouins sur le fleuve St-Laurent. À l'instigation des cinéastes, les gens de l'île ont "relevé la pêche" en 1962 pour en perpétuer la mémoire."

I saw this masterpiece of etnofiction for the first time. Pierre Perrault, Michel Brault, and Marcel Carrière joined the community of Île aux Coudres in order to make a movie of the ancient tradition of beluga fishing by some 130 stakes erected on a shallow bay. It is a communal effort (we in Finland would call such an endeavour talkoot), the tradition goes back to the earliest days of the French inhabitation in 1535 and quite possibly to the ways of the original native inhabitants of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

This is a movie about the community, the old and the young, the men and the women, the work and the leisure, the nature and the agriculture. Music is important, as is religion. The original Jacques Cartier reports from the New World in 1535-1545 have a prominent role, read aloud, the old French words visible on screen.

This non-fiction movie is an accurate record of many stages of traditional whaling, but most profoundly it is about the spirit of the community. It is about the joy of life the way they have discovered it.

The beautiful score is based on French-Canadian folk music with Jean Cousineau (guitar), Jean Meunier (flute), a female accordionist, a whistler, and impressive church chant by Abel Harvey.

Towards the conclusion we get to hear beluga sounds at the oceanographic institute. 

The beluga is not hunted for catch but for scientific study in whale conservation.

The language of the film might sometimes be difficult to understand even for a native French speaker. We were grateful for the fine electronic subtitles by Lena Talvio.

After the screening there was a memorable meeting at Corona Bar with Kira Jääskeläinen who has recently completed a whaling film of her own, Tagikaks (2012), Elizabeth Marschan, and Rauno Lauhakangas, a physicist, rock art specialist and international whale expert who has also participated in films such as Beluga Speaking Across Time (2002).

The visual quality: the movie has been shot on 16 mm and blown up to 35 mm. The print is clean and complete.

Legally online with excellent English subtitles:

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