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Serge Giguère Honoured with a Jutra

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by Maurie Alioff

;Serge Giguère © 2015 by Maurie Alioff;
Photo © 2015 Maurie Alioff.

(March 18, 2015 – Montréal, QC) Overwhelmed by the coverage, including our own, of Xavier Dolan`s Mommy winning an incredible 10 Jutra Awards was the story of a film by renowned Québec documentarian, Serge Giguère. It is titled Le mystère MacPherson (Finding MacPherson), a feature produced by the prolific cinematographer-director’s company, Les Productions du Rapide-Blanc, made with the National Film Board and the winner of the Best Documentary Jutra on Sunday night. Like many of Giguère`s films, it was years in the making..

Le mystère MacPherson zeroes in on animation filmmaker Martine Chartrand, who devoted ten years of her life to creating a movie about the relationship between legendary folk singer Félix Leclerc and a Jamaican called Frank Randolph Macpherson. Leclerc met his friend following the chemical engineer’s emigration to Quebec in 1917. Naturally, it’s surprising that Leclerc, so focused on Québécois rural life, would connect with a man from such a different culture, and even write a song inspired by the Jamaican called “MacPherson.”

For the NFB, “The film is a story about memory: a memory of the song that would push animation filmmaker Martine Chartrand to create the striking and poetic animation MacPherson, which was made using 35mm film to shoot a series of paintings on glass, while revisiting her own history. This highly personal and historical journey was captured by Giguère, who accompanied Chartrand from the very start. A sympathetic look at an artist at work, Le mystère MacPherson is also a steadfastly humanist film that highlights the imperceptible but unbreakable links that bind us to each other. “

During his long career, Giguère and his longtime collaborator, ex-wife Sylvie Van Brabant, have sought out one-of-a-kind characters rooted in the funkiest aspects of Quebec culture. Giguère’s films can have a freewheeling quality that reflects subjects like jazz drummer Guy Nadon and the irreverent performer, Oscar Thiffault.

Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette wrote, in part, “You really should look this one up — it’s a moving story about race, friendship, Quebec history and the strange world of animation filmmaking.”

Click here for more about Serge Giguère.