Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jacques Drouin in Relief (Jacques Drouin en relief, 2009)

Jacques Drouin in Relief  /Jacques Drouin en relief
Guillaume Fortin, NFB documentary, 2009

Newly available in French on the NFB website, this gem of a documentary examines the career of renowned pinscreen animator Jacques Drouin (b. 1943, Mont-Joli, PQ).  Director Guillume Fortin allows the voice of Drouin himself take centre stage leading us through his childhood in Quebec, his artistic beginnings at the École des Beaux-Arts de Montréal and UCLA, his experiences with his mentors at the NFB (Pierre Hébert, Francine Desbiens, Maurice Blackburn, Norman McLaren, René Jodoin) starting with his three-month apprenticeship, his first encounter with pinscreen, his impressions of Alexandre Alexeïeff and Claire Parker, his decision to use the pinscreen as an instrument for his art, and his thoughts about his work and his craft.

Jacques Drouin is a very engaging speaker and his anecdotes and ideas about his art are illustrated with photos and film clips from his personal archives, rare glimpses of his UCLA student works, and archival footage and photographs from the NFB and other media.  The documentary concludes with a look at how Drouin is fostering his legacy, showing him running a pinscreen workshop for students as well as a glimpse of his protégée Michèle Lemieux at work on the pinscreen. This documentary featured at the Hommage au maître Jacques Drouin held at the Cinémathèque québécoise in December 2009.

Even if you do not understand French, it is well worth watching for the archival footage and photographs.  The documentary is available with English subs on the bilingual DVD Paradoxe release: Jacques Drouin: Complete Pinscreen Works (Jacques Drouin: oeuvre complète sur écran d'épingle, 2011).

Catherine Munroe Hotes 2014

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