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André Forcier

Director, Screenwriter
(b. July 19, 1947 Montreal, Quebec)

Often referred to as Quebec cinema’s enfant terrible, the director-writer André Forcier is one of the best talents of his generation of Québécois filmmakers. Although he has produced relatively few films (eight features in 32 years), Forcier is widely regarded as an important figure in Canadian cinema: “the vitality of the Quebec film scene depends on regular booster shots from [Forcier],” extols Take One’s Essential Guide to Canadian Film.

Forcier became interested in film while studying classics at college. His first 8mm film, La mort vue par... won a Radio-Canada contest. Buoyed by this success, he financed and produced his first 16mm film, Chroniques labradoriennes (1967), using the facilities of Onyx Films. A number of years passed before Forcier completed his feature debut Le retour de l’Immaculée Conception (1971), which was filmed in black and white. His next film, Bar salon (1973), also shot in black and white, was Forcier’s first real critical success. Yet, it was only after almost two decades of filmmaking that he earned wider public recognition with the release of his sixth feature, Une histoire inventée (1990).

In 1976, Forcier co-founded the distribution company Cinéma Libre. That same year, he produced L’eau chaude l’eau frette, followed by Au clair de la lune (1982). Bar salon and Au clair de la lune illustrate Forcier’s capacity to blend observations of the minutia of everyday life with ele­ments of fantasy. The “éminence grise of iconoclasts” (Take One), Forcier’s work derives from a knowledge and passion for cinema — from the classic short Les désoeuvrés (René Bail, 1972) to Laurel and Hardy. And though his films are rooted firmly in Que­bec culture, they remain inimitably his own.

Inside his offbeat celluloid world, Forcier fearlessly explores both the inspirational and the grotesque of humanity. Many of his films are unromanticized, Rabelaisian portraits of people on the fringes of society. In Une histoire inventée, an irresistibly beautiful woman endures the tragedy of unrequited love, only to see the man she desires fall in love with her daughter, who is an actor pursued by countless adoring lovers. In Le vent du Wyoming (1994), which won best Canadian film and the international critics (FIPRESCI) award at the Montreal Film Festival, Forcier celebrates cabaret acts, somnambulism and boxing, while once again examining his characteristic themes of love and betrayal. And like his previous films, it is poetic and absurd.

In Forcier’s La comtesse de Bâton Rouge (1997), a filmmaker completes an autobiographical film recounting his love affair with a circus player 30 years earlier. Watching La comtesse de Bâton Rouge is like a daydream, slipping between past and present with multiple layers of reality and fiction.

After a rather lengthy hiatus from feature filmmaking, Forcier returned in 2004 with Acapulco Gold, an even more daring fusion of seemingly contradictory elements -- this time mixing elements of documentary, fiction and biography on filmmaking -- as it follows a man who believes himself to be Elvis Presley. Based on actor and collaborator Michel Maillot’s misadventures in Mexico, the film was compared to Orson Welles’s notorious F for Fake by TIFF programmer Stacey Donen. Forcier’s next film, again a meditation on movies or the culture built around them, was entitled Les états-Unis d’Albert or The United States of Albert (2005), about a young man who leaves his Quebec home to seek a career in Hollywood.

Forcier’s most recent two films – Je me souviens (2009) and Coteau Rouge (2011) – deal again with fractured families. Both films were nominated for numerous Jutra awards while the former won the most popular Canadian film at the Montreal World Film Festival in 2009.

Focrier has won numerous awards over the course of his career, including the prix-Albert Tessier in 2003 for his contribution to Canadian cinema and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2010. The jury’s rationale read that “since the 1970s, [Forcier] has written films without compromise with poetry that frees reality from its constraints.”

Forcier: En attendant (1988) by Yves Belanger is a documentary about Forcier's early work.

Updated March 2013.  Additional notes by Steve Gravestock.

Film and video work includes

La mort vue par..., 1966 (director)
Chroniques labradoriennes, 1967 (director; writer; producer)
Le retour de l'immaculée conception, 1971 (director; writer)
Night Cap, 1974 (director; writer)
L'eau chaude l'eau frette, 1976 (director; writer; actor)
Marcotte, Michel Pratt, Guy L'Écuyer, Michel Côté, Bernard Lalonde)
Kalamazoo, 1988 (director; co-writer with Jacques Marcotte)
Une histoire inventée, 1990 (director; writer)
L'assassin jouait le trombone, 1991 (actor)
Les malheureux magnifiques, 1992 (actor)
Le vent du Wyoming, 1994 (director; writer)
La comtesse de Bâton Rouge, 1997 (director; writer)
Acapulco Gold, 2004 (director; co-writer with Michel Maillot, Mark Krasnoff; executive producer)
Les états-Unis d’Albert/ The United States of Albert, 2005 (director; co-writer)
Je me souviens , 2009 (director; co-writer; producer)
Coteau Rouge , 2011 (director; co-writer)