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The Films of Jean-Daniel Lafond
January 24, 2009 until March 8, 2009

The Films of Jean-Daniel Lafond

Thecinema of Jean-Daniel Lafond is a species of conversation. More precisely, it is an ongoing and engaged Socratic dialogue investigating Canada and ‘Canadianness’ and its place in the world. His work stretches from Canada's far north down south to Haiti, from the cinema of Pierre Perrault to the poetry of Aime Cesaire, from the turbulent politics of contemporary Quebec to the unsettling realities of Iran and Cuba, from the 20th Century arrivals to Canada of Haitians to the 17th Century French colonial experience in New France. It is an extraordinary record of our times. More than that, though, it is a philosophical inquiry into our times, a series of absorbing conversations about the world we inhabit together.

This retrospective features his works from 1986 onward, spanning 22 years of award-winning filmmaking.  Fascinated by how societies develop and function, Lafond’s work is populated by artists, citizens, and intellectuals who are attempting to imagine, articulate, and realize a vision of culture and society. Whether the subject is the complexities of Canada, the Caribbean, or Iran, Lafond’s searching cinema is propelled by ideas and questions of cultural history, geopolitical forces, and individual imaginative energy, all in constant play.  His work offers a broad set of lines of inquiry, an absorbing investigative skein of intellectual, civic, and emotional entanglements

His latest film, the astonishing FOLLE DE DIEU, weaves these inquiries together and broadens the canvas upon which they are depicted to include the metaphysical, the spiritual, the ecstatic. Ideas of colony, gender, political power and cultural specificity are here located and in some senses embodied in the extraordinary life of Marie de l'Incarnation, who left her family in France to become a nun in 17th Century Quebec, then New France. Her journey, in its historical detail and its fictional re-enactment, is a fascinating chapter in the history of the relationship between northern North America and those who arrived from elsewhere to dream it, in however flawed a manner, into some kind of new shape.

The cinema of Jean-Daniel Lafond is a cinema of dialogue, a cinema of inventive philosophical inquiry. It allows its subjects to speak, to reveal their paradoxes and contradictions. Lafond's work asks: what is Canada? What do we understand to be its past, present, and possible futures? From the political to the personal, from Europe to the Caribbean to the snows of Quebec City, then, Lafond's films trouble safe assumptions about history, politics, economics, ethnicity, power, and even documentary film practice itself. His impassioned, sceptical films refuse to sit still. They keep investigating, seeking, asking; for, as Wittgenstein's famous maxim reminds us: if a question can be asked, it can be answered. It is in the asking of better questions, perhaps, that better answers can be imagined. 

Tom McSorley
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Program:
Jean-Daniel Lafond  •  Canada  •  2006  •  75 min
Saturday, January 24, 2009, 9:00 pm, Auditorium, 395 Wellington St.
English Subtitles
 
Jean-Daniel Lafond  •  Canada  •  2003  •  81 min
Sunday, January 25, 2009, 7:00 pm, Auditorium, 395 Wellington St.
English Subtitles
 
Jean-Daniel Lafond  •  Canada  •  2002  •  72 min
Saturday, January 31, 2009, 9:00 pm, Auditorium, 395 Wellington St.
English Subtitles
 
Jean-Daniel Lafond  •  Canada  •  1999  •  82 min
Sunday, February 1, 2009, 7:00 pm, Auditorium, 395 Wellington St.
 
Jean-Daniel Lafond  •  Canada  •  1999  •  54 min
Saturday, February 7, 2009, 9:00 pm, Auditorium, 395 Wellington St.
English Subtitles
 
Jean-Daniel Lafond  •  Canada  •  1995  •  54 min
Saturday, February 7, 2009, 9:00 pm, Auditorium, 395 Wellington St.
English Subtitles
 
Jean-Daniel Lafond  •  Canada  •  1995  •  73 min
Sunday, February 8, 2009, 7:00 pm, Auditorium, 395 Wellington St.
English Subtitles
 
Jean-Daniel Lafond  •  Canada  •  1994  •  52 min
Sunday, February 15, 2009, 7:00 pm, Auditorium, 395 Wellington St.
English Subtitles
 
Jean-Daniel Lafond  •  Canada  •  1991  •  59 min
Sunday, February 15, 2009, 7:00 pm, Auditorium, 395 Wellington St.
English Subtitles
 
Jean-Daniel Lafond  •  Canada  •  2008  •  76 min
Tuesday, February 24, 2009, 7:00 pm, Auditorium, 395 Wellington St.
English Subtitles
 
Jean-Daniel Lafond  •  Canada  •  1987  •  72 min
Saturday, March 7, 2009, 9:00 pm, Auditorium, 395 Wellington St.
 
Jean-Daniel Lafond  •  Canada  •  1986  •  95 min
Sunday, March 8, 2009, 7:00 pm, Auditorium, 395 Wellington St.
English Subtitles