Julie Perron makes unique documentaries that often focus on unusual characters. She burst on to the film scene with Mai en décembre : Godard en Abitibi, a fascinating look at Jean-Luc Godard’s surprising attempt to kick-start a television revolution in Rouyn-Noranda in 1968. She also profiled a member of the French resistance in her film Lucie de tous les temps as well as examining the daily life of a renowned Montreal artist in Pierre Gauvin, un moine moderne. Her latest film, The Sower, is the portrait of an offbeat seed company owner who combines concepts from Avant Garde art with those from Agriculture.
Brendan Kelly: How did you decide which films you wanted to pick for VUCAVU.
Julie Perron: At the end of the day, they really were my coups de coeur. As the viewer of a film, what affects me the most is that it can reach everyone. It has to have a real desire to communicate something, to reflect on life, and to express emotions. I chose many films from Quebec because that is what I know best. But I also chose films from other regions of Canada. Art interests me and so do portraits.
This is why I chose Jennifer Alleyn’s film about her father, My Father’s Studio (about the painter Edmund Alleyn). It is a wonderful work of documentary. She really allows us to discover this man while, at the same time, showing us how she is reflecting on her father’s oeuvre (Jennifer Alleyn).
I also chose a film about a male belly-dancer. I think we can showcase films like this on VUCAVU. It is not so much the cinematographic form as just wanting to show it. It’s called La danse orientale avec un twist (Belly Dance with a Twist) (Gilda Boffa).
The following film is a piece about a young woman from Manitoba who tries to get her grandmother to admit that she is Métis. The film examines the negotiation of indigenous and Métis heritage. This film one is called Mémère Métis (Janelle Wookey). The dramatic effect of this film is very strong.
I just now realized that I chose two other films about grandmothers. I chose Irène au coeur de lion (Josephine Mackay), the story of a woman involved in the Second World War. Her granddaughter also made this film. I also chose Léa Pool’s feature film La femme de l’hôtel (Not included in this selection). I remember that the first time I saw it was just when I was starting to think about making films but there weren’t that many films directed by women at the time. It was life-changing for me. I saw that film and I thought, “Ah OK! There are women who also make films!”
The choice of this film also led me to think about how we distribute films here in Quebec. Before Les films du 3 mars, there was the Cinéma Libre, and the former really took over from latter in the sense that Cinéma Libre was very important in terms of distributing Québécois cinema when our cinema was still in its infancy, and was a very important player in it’s evolution over the years. Les films du 3 mars re-released many of films from Cinéma Libre’s catalogue history and Ceux qui ont le pas léger meurent sans laisser de traces (Bernard Émond) was one of them.
Finally, my choices are fairly eclectic and I didn’t try to analyze them too deeply. However, I realize now that I chose films made mostly by women, about portraits and films about the relationship between art and identity. The only thing they all have in common is that I really like all of them! It’s as simple as that.
I saw that film and I thought, 'Ah OK! There are women who also make films!'.