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En pays neufs

Year: 1937
Language: French
Format: 16mm Black & White
Runtime: 66 min
Director: L’abbé Maurice Proulx
Writer: L’abbé Maurice Proulx
Cinematographer: L’abbé Maurice Proulx
Music: Maurice Montgrain
Narration: Maurice Montgrain
Production Company: Ministère de la Colonisation et de l’Agriculture de la province de Quebec

This documentary records the opening and settlement of the Abitibi region. It includes scenes showing the backgrounds of the settlers, their arrival and the clearing of the land. As time passes, the original log houses are replaced by neat frame homes and crop yields prove bountiful.

En pays neuf is both a unique social record of an important period in Quebec history and a propaganda film by a priest supporting the cause of colonization – “the return of the land” – that was then the policy of the Quebec government. It was filmed, year by year, between 1934 and 1937 by Proulx and was originally shown silent with Proulx himself supplying the commentary. A sound version (financed by the Ministère de la Colonisation) was prepared in New York in 1937 for the Exposition de Québec, with music and narration provided by Maurice Montgrain.

By: Peter Morris