by Ralph Lucas – Publisher
(June 29, 2023 – Toronto, ON) When I received the media release about renowned director Denys Arcand being honoured with his likeness on a new stamp to be released three days after his June 25 birthday, I immediately had two quite different thoughts. The first was a burst of pride that echoes the work we’ve been trying to do here for more than 25 years. It’s impossible to create a star system if no one knows who you’re writing or talking about. The more mischievous me also thought, Wouldn’t it be fun to send Mr. Arcand a letter of congratulations on this honour and use one of these newly created stamps? Wouldn’t it be great if ten of us did? Or a hundred? This honour comes as Denys Arcand marks his 61st year behind the camera.
The media release noted “Arcand first developed a passion for politics and history while studying at the Université de Montréal, where he also co-wrote and co-directed his first film, Seul ou avec d’autres (1962). A year later, he joined the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) as a documentarian where he began cultivating his reputation for pushing boundaries. His first feature-length documentary On est au coton (1970) was about Quebec’s textile industry – it was so controversial that the NFB waited six years before releasing it.
As he moved into fiction, Arcand found more freedom to express his views and to challenge audiences, which would earn him critical acclaim.
In 1986, he experienced box-office success with Le déclin de l’empire américain. The biting comedy about sexual mores won several honours, including eight Genie Awards. It also became the first Canadian film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Arcand would build on this success with hits that include Jésus de Montréal (1989) and Les invasions barbares (2003), which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film – the first for Quebec (and Canada). After more than 60 years in the industry, Arcand continues to direct.
Among Arcand’s many honours are a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award in 1995 and a Canada’s Walk of Fame induction in 2004. He is also a Companion of the Order of Canada (2004) and a Compagnon de l’Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec.”
Congratulations Denys, from me and from everyone at Northernstars.ca
Read more about Denys Arcand on the Canadian Film Database.
Ralph Lucas is the founder and publisher of Northernstars.ca. He began writing about film and reviewing movies while in radio in Montreal in the mid-1970s.