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La raison avant la passion

La raison avant la passion

(Reason over Passion)

Year: 1969
Language: English
Format: 16mm Colour/Black & White
Runtime: 80 min
Director: Joyce Wieland
Producer: Joyce Wieland
Cinematographer: Joyce Wieland
Editor: Joyce Wieland
Sound: Joyce Wieland
Music: Joyce Wieland
Production Company: Corrective Films

Wieland’s most important and complex nationalist statement, La raison avant la passion, is a playful, penetrating exploration of the landscape and mindscape of Canada. Taken from Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s assertion, “Reason over passion — that is the theme of all my writing,” the film is an impressionistic train and car trip from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast.

Throughout the film, the letters of the title are varied randomly, as in an anagram, by a computer. The first part is dominated by the colour green; the second, orange; and the third, white.

Made in three parts with a prelude, La raison avant la passion is largely a hymn to the beauty of the country but it also raises questions about cultural identity. The film was designed as the second part of a trilogy between Rat Life and Diet in North America and The Far Shore. Despite critical rejection of its so�€'called clinical detachment, it remains one of the most passionate (and reasoned) celebrations of Canada ever filmed.

P. Adams Sitney in Film Culture notes, “With its many eccentrics, it’s a glyph of Wieland’s artistic personality; a lyric vision tempered by an aggressive and visionary patriotism mixed with ironic self-parody. It is a film to be seen many times.”

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