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HUMANITIES 201 Joseph I. Donohoe, editor. Essays on Quebec Cinema MSU Canadian Series, no. 2. Michigan State University Press. 194. $25.00 Ian Lockerbie, editor. Image and Identity: Theatre and Cinema in Scotland and Quebec The John Grierson Archive and Department of French, University of Stirling. 1988. 144 The growth in Canadian Studies courses and the creation of national associations in this area have greatly increased the number of academic conferences devoted to various facets of life in our country. The two books reviewed here are examples of these types of meetings, the first presenting papers from a colloquium held in 1989 in Michigan, the second, those of a comparatively oriented one held in Stirling two years earlier. These two gatherings are among the very few held abroad devoted exclusively to film art in Canada. The two publications contain some fascinating and thought-provoking essays, but also present problems with regard to ed iting and interpretation. This is evident from the very first text in Donohoe's volume, Paul Warren's 'The [sic] French-Canadian Cinema: a Hyphen between Documentary and Fiction.' The Laval professor studies the relationship between documentary elements in Quebec fiction films and vice versa and, as usual, brings much insight into the close links between these two approaches to cinematic writing, and into the sources of their interaction. Unfortunately, however, much of what he has to say is unclear, due to the countless Gallicisms therein. (The incorrect use of the definite article, as in the title, abounds; French possessives are substituted for the English apostrophe's'; stylistic and lexicological errors are frequent.) Yet the same volume carries a relatively error-free text in the original French, Pierre Perrault's essay, 'Reflexions impertinentes sur la creation cinematographique ,' and a generally well translated essay by Jean-Pierre Lefebvre, 'Snapshots from Quebec.' If editors use texts in English by Quebecois filmmakers and critics, they must ensure that the language is correct and d ear. Otherwise they are defeating their purpose of summoning local practitioners to elucidate important aspects of Quebec film. This same criticism applies to Ian Lockerbie's book, particularly to Pierre Veronneau 's article, 'Quebec Documentary in Perspective,' which complements Warren's text but shares with it countless mistakes of like nature. Other articles by francophones in the two volumes (Esther Pelletier and Lucie Roy in the first, Jean-Cleo Godin and Maurice Lemire in the second) are much less error-prone (especially Godin's), but could still have benefited from tighter editing. The editors of both volumes (and particularly Donohoe) are also responsible for many faulty transcriptions of titles in French, especially the overuse of capitals, factual mistakes, and 202 LETTERS IN CANADA 1991 numerous errors in the spelling of names of filmmakers, and French words in general. These wea~esses prevent full comprehension and complicate reader's follow-ups in search of titles, etc. Now to return to Donohoe's volume. Philip Reines's essay, 'The Emergence of Quebec Cinema: A Historical Overview,' is a good survey of the development of Quebec film, but one wonders why there is no mention in it of David Clandfield's excellent study, Canadian Film (Toronto, Oxford University Press 1987), which appeared two years before the Michigan conference and covers much the same ground in two compact chapters. (Articles by Clandfield are, however, cited by Reines.) One could also take issue with the use of terms like 'ethnic life' and 'ethnic frustrations' (much used in the media but reductive and ghettoizing ), infelicitous and inexact sentences ('During the 1960's ... these values were displaced by the growing cultural discontent ... known as the Quiet Revolution'), and the erroneous statement that the film Seraphin (based on C.-H. Grignon's novel Un homme et son peche) was a sequel to Le Cure de village, adapted from a text by Robert Choquette. Finally, Reines's optimism that the Free Trade Agreement 'may result in a more favorable redistribution of cinema screentime for Canadian and Quebec films in both Canada and the United States' is, to this reviewer, a very pious wish, given the history of film distribution in Canada and the weakness of our laws in limiting U.S. control of movie-houses...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 201-206
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-25
Open Access
No
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