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Bûcherons de la Manouane

(Manouane River Lumberjacks)

Year: 1962
Language: French
Format: 16mm Black & White
Runtime: 28 min
Director: Arthur Lamothe
Producer: Victor Jobin, Fernand Dansereau
Writer: Arthur Lamothe
Cinematographer: Guy Borremans, Bernard Gosselin
Editor: Jean Dansereau, Arthur Lamothe
Sound: Pierre Lemelin, Maurice Blackburn, Ron Alexander, Roger Lamoureux, Claude Pelletier
Music: Pierre Lemelin, Maurice Blackburn
Narration: Victor Désy
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada

Arthur Lamothe’s first film for the National Film Board, Bfcherons de la Manouane was produced in the same year as a number of other key direct-cinema films from the NFB’s French Unit and still stands as one of the most important documentaries of its time. It offered the possibility of a more analytical approach to direct cinema, won several awards and had considerable influence on Québécois filmmakers.

Part of the Temps présent series, this rugged look at daily life and working conditions deep in the forests of Quebec took Lamothe back to a life he knew well as a young man in the lumberjack camps of the Quebec interior. Though he employed direct-cinema techniques, he also used research and analysis to explore and expose the reality behind the myth of the lumberjack. Lamothe’s overtly political approach to the issues and conditions faced by the lumberjacks caused problems with NFB management, who were accustomed to a more folkloric treatment of rural Quebec.