(1941 - )
- director, screenwriter
- born June 25, 1941, Deschambault, Quebec
- educated University of Montreal (history)
- raised in a strict Catholic home (his mother had wanted to be a Carmelite nun) and spent nine years in Jesuit school
- produced his first film, the short "Seul ou Avec d'Autres" (1962), while at university
- after graduation, went to work for the National Film Board of Canada
- between 1964 and 1965 he made a trilogy of short historical documentaries about the early explorers and settlers of North America
- in 1970 he directed "On Est au Coton", a feature-length documentary about abuses in the textile industry that was officially banned, allegedly because of its "biased" point of view
- another politically-oriented documentary followed, "Quebec: Duplessis et Apres" (1972)
- in 1972 Arcand directed his first feature, "Une Maudite Galette"
- "Gina" (1975) is about a stripper and a film crew working on a documentary about the textile industry
- in "The Decline of the American Empire" (1986) a group of Quebecois intellectuals discuss the problems of sexuality, success, fidelity, intimacy and aging. A hit on the festival circuit and with critics and filmgoers in the States, the film won nine Genies (the Canadian Oscar), the "Fipresci" prize at Cannes and an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film. (Paramount announced the development of a US remake.)
- "Jesus of Montreal" (1989) was inspired by an actor (who auditioned for "The Decline of the American Empire") who was portraying Jesus in a play being performed for tourists visiting the city's famed Mont Royal. The director was fascinated with the lives of these Montreal artists who made a living as biblical figures by night and in beer commercials and porno films by day.
Reflects Arcand's view that "the Catholic hierarchy is completely opposed to Christ's purest teachings."
- more information from the NFB
- interview by Carl Capatorto
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