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Alexis Tremblay: Habitant

Directed by Jane Marsh
Canada, 1943 (documentary, 37 minutes, colour, English)
Also known as "Terre de nos aïeux"
Alexis Tremblay: Habitant
Image: © National Film Board of Canada

Film Description:
"Life for Alexis Tremblay and his family is dedicated to the soil, following the tradition of ancestors who settled in Québec along the shores of the St. Lawrence over three hundred years ago. In this existence the church plays an important part, the blessing of the seed each spring being a sacred ritual passed on from one generation to another. We follow this French Canadian family through the busy autumn days as they bring in the harvest and help with bread baking and soap making. Winter sees the children revelling in outdoor sports while the women are busy with their weaving, and, with the coming of spring young and old alike repair to the fields once more to plough the earth in preparation for another season of varied crops."
-- National Film Board of Canada (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Jane Marsh
Film Editing: Jane Marsh
Music: Louis Applebaum, Maurice Blackburn
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada / Office national du film du Canada
Additional Credits: Camera [photographie]: Judith Crawley

Quotes about Alexis Tremblay: Habitant

"In 1947, against the filmmaker's [Jane Marsh's] wishes, the NFB prepared a three-part version of the film [Alexis Tremblay: Habitant] titled Spring on a Quebec Farm, Summer on a Quebec Farm and Winter on a Quebec Farm."
-- Canadian Film Encyclopedia (source)

"For years (until it was withdrawn from circulation in 1960), [Alexis Tremblay: Habitant] was one of the NFB's most popular films. If one can now easily condemn its ideologically reassuring image of happy peasants secure in the bosom of their faith, it is also necessary to consider its context. It reflects precisely an image propounded at the time by Quebec society itself, most significantly by the Church. But beyond this, it is a striking example of a continuing current in Canadian documentary: the romantic idyll of life on the land, where the innocence and peace of childhood remain undisturbed as humanity lives in harmonious relation with nature."
-- Canadian Film Encyclopedia (source)

"[Alexis Tremblay, Habitant] was another pastoral celebration—of the North Shore in Charlevoix county—an example of the 'picturesque' approach the French Unit film-makers would reject two decades later as the outsider's view."
-- David Clandfield (source)

"This film [Alexis Tremblay: Habitant] was constructed around the cyclical patterns of rural life dictated by the seasons, and the omnipresent St Lawrence gave the film an almost classic literary characterization."
-- Gary Evans (source)

"Alexis Tremblay: Habitant was a great success and the [National Film Board of Canada] was invited to present a special screening to the Quebec Legislative Assembly. After the screening, [John] Grierson was supposed to present the filmmaker to the audience. Jane Marsh recalled, however, that Grierson became so involved in his own speech that he completely forgot she was there."
-- Mary Teresa Nash (source)

"Jane Marsh shot Alexis Tremblay: Habitant with Judith Crawley on camera. Originally, Jane Marsh had a disinterested cameraman shooting the film and said that 'every time I wanted to shoot something, he was over there doing other things...' When she replaced him with Judith Crawley, she said that 'the whole thing came into focus... it just sparkles because she's so good.'"
-- Mary Teresa Nash (source)

Quote about Alexis Tremblay: Habitant [in French]

"Jane Marsh est la première femme à tourner des images du Québec de façon officielle et la première réalisatrice à avoir une certaine visibilité au Québec puisqu'elle participe a la tournée de présentation de son film Alexis Tremblay Habitant (Terre de nos aïeux, en français) dans la province."
-- Jocelyne Denault (source)

Web Sites about Alexis Tremblay: Habitant

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