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The Far Shore

Réalisé par Joyce Wieland
Canada, 1976 (fiction, 105 minutes, couleurs, anglais)
Autres titres : « L'autre rive », « True Patriot Love »
The Far Shore
Image : © Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre

Description du film [en anglais] :
« Multidisciplinary artist Joyce Wieland takes on Canadian myths through the story of French Canadian artist Eulalie and her engineer anglophone husband, Ross, as they slowly lose touch with one another after moving to Toronto in 1919. Eulalie meets painter Tom (based on Tom Thomson) and connects with him, further jeopardizing her marriage. [...] »
-- Magali Simard (source)

Description du film :
« Une jeune Québécoise épouse un ingénieur de Toronto, mais elle s'éprend d'un jeune peintre avec qui elle s'enfuit jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient tous les deux retrouvés et abattus. »
-- Jana Vosikovska (source)


Générique (partiel) :
Scénario : Bryan Barney, Joyce Wieland
Produit par : Pierre Lamy, Judy Steed, Joyce Wieland
Interprètes principaux : Céline Lomez, Lawrence Benedict, Frank Moore, Sean McCann, Charlotte Blunt, Susan Petrie, Jean Carignan, Cosette Lee, Don LeGros, Leo Leyden, Murray Westgate, Aviva Gerson, David Bolt, Colette Sharp, Dianne Lawrence, Jill Galer, Janet Doherty, Rachel Barney, Keith Craig
Images : Richard Leiterman
Montage images : George Appleby, Brian French
Musique : Douglas Pringle
Société de production : Far Shore Inc.
(sources)

Prix décernés à The Far Shore

Notes sur The Far Shore

(sources)

Citations de la réalisatrice [en anglais]

« All my films are intensely personal. I am not a film theoretician. With my film The Far Shore I tried to sum up many of the things that I love about film. On another level it was a film about Canada made for Canadians and the world. »
-- Joyce Wieland (source)

« I did my best to embrace the form of the feature film in this work [The Far Shore] without compromising myself. What I had developed in my past films was stillness, the use of grain, love of light, and personal subject matter. I brought my knowledge of film and joined it to traditional form... I worked for two and a half years preparing story boards, designing camera movement, making notes on lighting. I have over 2000 drawings of which 600 became the working boards, which I used to discuss the camera, lighting, production design of the film. »
-- Joyce Wieland (source)

« I'll never forget the look [production designer Anne Prichard] game me the first day on location [for The Far Shore] before the first take. I was nervous as Hell. I looked around into the steady gaze of her beautiful eyes. What I saw there was a secret shout of joy and encouragement. It said, 'Go to it Sister'. »
-- Joyce Wieland (source)

« It was a highlight of my life to be able to put everything I know into one film [The Far Shore]. »
-- Joyce Wieland (source)

« There are a lot of things in this film [The Far Shore] that are based on the life of my husband's mother—the whole concept of a French Canadian, convent-raised girl, breaking with tradition, falling in love and running away with her man. [...] Men seem to have a more difficult time relating to the picture; I think they relate to Eulalie's husband, Ross, who because of his stiff Toronto upbringing doesn't know how to love the artist that is his wife. I also think that I, as a woman director, alarm them— after all, how many women directors have there been in history? »
-- Joyce Wieland (source)

Citation sur The Far Shore

« Je me demande ce qui a bien pu pousser l'artiste canadienne Joyce Wieland à réaliser The Far Shore, une vision romanesque et romantique de la vie du peintre Tom Thomson, le plus célèbre artiste du Groupe des Sept? Les réponses sont multiples mais ne suffisent pas à justifier l'existence d'une oeuvre qui déforme la réalité au profit de la fiction et qui ne fait que mythifier la vie déjà assez mythique de Tom Thomson. »
-- André Leroux (source)

Citations sur The Far Shore [en anglais]

« The Far Shore operates through conventional modes of tragic melodrama, not only in its narrative form but also in its deployment of the cinematic vocabulary of the silent era. Griffithian cross-cutting in the chase scene, use of off-screen space and inscription of archetypal characters in the narrative signify the film's observance of filmic practices from the historical period in which the narrative is situated. The use of silent-era dramatic structures and film language demonstrates once again the multifarious and richly heterogenous arrows in [Joyce] Wieland's creative quiver. »
-- Kay Armatage (source)

« The Far Shore was [...] rejected by the avant-garde community for is commitment to sentiment, genre and narrative, and it failed miserably at the box office in Canada as it was laughed off the screen by the very audience [Joyce] Wieland hoped to reach. »
-- Kay Armatage (source)

« Reflecting her achievements in experimental film and visual arts, [Joyce] Wieland produced a multimodal work [The Far Shore] that challenged both the experimental film community and mainstream spectators while suggesting their unique conjunction in Canadian cinema. »
-- Richard Cavell (source)

« Since one of the backers was the owner of 49 per cent of a theatre circuit, he saw to it that The Far Shore was booked into his houses. Normally, the circuits favor American product. Although the initial response was excellent, the distributor took the film out of Canadian release because of a dispute regarding a lab bill. Ray Blanco, head of Bauer International in Somerville, N.J., saw the film at Cannes and fell in love with it. Playdates have been lined up in New England and in Houston, San Diego and Santa Fe, with Ms. Wieland participating in the promotion. »
-- John Cocchi (source)

« When her associates told [Joyce Wieland] that it would be better to have a Polish director at the helm only a few weeks before production began, she held out until it was agreed she should direct. Once under way, she took extreme care with each shot (the finished product speaks for itself) and videotaped the actors' rehearsals to show to them. Only two takes were necessary for most shots [...]. »
-- John Cocchi (source)

« The Far Shore is a landmark in Canadian film. As well as being the most expensive and most ambitious undertaking by a woman to be funded by the CFDC [Canadian Film Development Corporation] (two of the 130 projects listed in CFDC annual reports were directed by women), it draws on themes in Canadian history and experience. [...] The story may be old, but it is extraordinary in the telling because the dimensions of women's understanding and perspectives are brought in, making the characters believable in a totally fresh way. And this results in the most beautiful erotic love scene filmed in Canada to date with which women can strongly identify. »
-- Susan M. Crean (source)

« Ambitious and meticulous, years in the making, exploiting some of the top cinema craftspeople in Canada's film industry, The Far Shore (1976) appropriated and messed around with the genre of period melodrama, presenting a visual allegory about the patriarchal and colonial subjection of women, creative artists, the natural environment, and ultimately the moral degradation of the colonials themselves. The film became a much-admired touchstone of feminist film in Canada. But while the film is conceptually brilliant, it is also deeply flawed: the radical fusion of narrative and formalist cinemas was simply too ambitious to perfect on the first try. »
-- Jonathan Culp (source)

« [Johanne] Sloan, a professor of art history at Concordia University, gives The Far Shore the contemporary re-investigation it deserves. She brings to the project her own practiced eye and theoretical knowledge of [Joyce] Wieland's art and of landscape as well as the tall shoulders of scholars like Kay Armatage who have spent careers fighting for the film and for Wieland's reputation. As a result, the reader is patiently guided into seeing the film as Wieland saw it, an intricate interplay of personal vision, feminist sensibility and Canadian nationalism that very much rewards a second look. »
-- Seth Feldman (source)

« Another behind-the-scenes tidbit about The Far Shore is that [Joyce] Wieland planned the whole feature over a period of two years on storyboards, as one would do for an animated film. That, combined with the increasing concern with landscape in her graphic art, gives the film an unusual aspect. »
-- Doug Fetherling (source)

« During recent years [Joyce] Wieland has grown increasingly nationalistic in her politics. It was natural then that sometime in 1969 she would become consumed (there's no other word for it) by a desire to 'reach a wider audience with stories about Canada in a dramatic form.' This desire is what led her to make her first feature film, The Far Shore. [...] What happened between 1969, when the idea came to her, and this month, when the film is being released across the country, is, at various times and from various angles, the story either of the lamb in the lion's den or the bull in the china shop. Wieland, an artist in the best sense of the word, found herself immersed in the world of commercial filmmaking, in which the artist seldom figures and almost never wins. »
-- Doug Fetherling (source)

« The Far Shore has energy, ambition, vision and a marvellously confident sense of itself. A notable accomplishment, and a triumph of Wielandism. »
-- Robert Fulford (source)

« The heavy freight of symbolic conflict—art versus commerce, Quebec versus Ontario, nature versus exploitation—[...] makes The Far Shore a public statement as well as a narrative film. Some audiences may find it hard to digest: I found it suggestive and moving. »
-- Robert Fulford (source)

« By pressing too hard on her themes, [Joyce] Wieland turns her characters into caricatures. [...] Wieland made a period melodrama in which she looked back on Toronto and Canadian culture as she imagined they might have been in the years following the First World War. Today [in 1997] The Far Shore registers as another kind of period piece, a sentimental fragment representing certain ideas and feelings of the 1970s, as one notable artist tried to express them. »
-- Robert Fulford (source)

« The Far Shore is grounded in Canadian history—it is based on Joyce Wieland's vision of the painter Tom Thomson, whose canoe was found overturned in a northern lake; on the character of Joyce Wieland's mother-in-law, a Quebecoise who was reared in a convent and prevented by her family from becoming a concert pianist; and on the melodramatic stories of James Oliver Curwood, a popular novelist of the period. Curwood, incidentally and importantly, worked with Nell Shipman, the first Canadian woman director. Shipman's film Back to God's Country, shot on location in Calgary and the Yukon in 1919, was based on a Curwood story —it is a melodrama to which The Far Shore bears striking affinity. (Joyce Wieland had not seen Back to God's Country when she filmed The Far Shore). »
-- Barbara Halpern Martineau (source)

« It is not for nothing that Joyce Wieland is known as an innovational artist and experimental filmmaker. If most films have as a sub-text the way men see women, The Far Shore presents us with a delicate record of how an especially sensitive woman sees a particular group of men. It is not an encouraging vision. More visual than narrative, more suggestive than explanatory, The Far Shore is nevertheless a most beautiful film—evocative both of the period it is set in and of the values it represents. In this way, The Far Shore joins the great tradition within Canadian film culture (scarcely recognized as such) that records the inability of Canadian society to provide a meaningful existence for its most sensitive inhabitants. It is thus not only a personal film, a 'feminist' film, but a film which has political significance for the whole Canadian nation and, hopefully, for the world at large. »
-- Peter Harcourt (source)

« [Joyce] Wieland's co-optation of Aboriginal cultures and identities to politicize her work is evident in The Far Shore, her 1976 feature-length film. Wieland imbues one of the main characters, Tom McLeod, with romantic, imagined notions of Indianness in order to warn viewers of ecological damages to the land caused by capitalist exploitation. »
-- Kristy A. Holmes (source)

« The Far Shore is a splendid evening's entertainment, and offers us, as a bonus, a way of seeing our own landscape, our own English-Canadian past and people, that could never have come out of Hollywood. It's a woman's film, and that's a jolting new experience, too. That 'click' of instant recognition, the knowing little thrill of secret insights shared, will be irresistible to the macho-weary female viewer. Here the camera moves at a gentle, dreamy pace, so that we can drink in the pictures so beautifully framed, composed and lapped in light. We can see, for a change, through the clear eyes of the female lead. »
-- Michele Landsberg (source)

« The Ottawa '76 international film festival opened Thursday evening with the world premiere of The Far Shore, Toronto artist Joyce Wieland's love story inspired by the life and death of painter Tom Thomson. [...] Wieland, and the film's investors, should have their reward, for The Far Shore will (if things are done right) attract a large following. It's that interesting a movie. Watching it you're not sure what to think. The film is filled with 'dramatic coincidence' and other hokum, including bits of dialogue like Tom telling waspishly entrepreneurial Ross 'you're rich enough, leave the North alone' [...]. The audience laughed at these things, and at a rather remarkable love scene that takes place entirely beneath the pristine waters of some northern lake—but still did not fail to be affected by the same scenes' drama and emotion. It's a multi-layer thing, with Wieland both mocking movie and artworld sentimentality and yet loving it, using it to move the audience and make her movie work. »
-- Dane Lanken (source)

« Unfortunately, the film [The Far Shore] is less lucid than its story line, because the characters must do triple duty. They carry not only their names but also labels of portent: Oppressed Wife, Dull Husband, Sensitive Artist, Brutish Friend. Further burdened as political symbols, they totter along well-worn warpaths (French Canadians vs. English Canadians, Art vs. Technology, Men vs. Women) and never get a chance at personal or subtle life. »
-- Lisl Levinsohn (source)

« Like [Joyce Wieland's] The Far Shore, [Anne Wheeler's] Loyalties appropriates melodramatic generic conventions to a feminist critique, but its textual predecessors are less likely to be found among romantic melodramas than among the darker gothic romances of Jane Eyre or Rebecca. »
-- Brenda Longfellow (source)

« While [Joyce] Wieland would eventually return to the experimental format, The Far Shore represents a flamboyant and self-reflexive embrace of melodramatic narrative conventions. [...] Replete with its quota of signs and fuelled by the fetishistic pleasures of period costume and decor, The Far Shore presages the current mania for feminist costume dramas in films like The Piano, Washington Square, Sense and Sensibility, and so on. »
-- Brenda Longfellow (source)

« [Céline Lomez] says it is good to be directed by a woman [in The Far Shore], a first for her. 'There is the sensitivity of one woman to another's feelings and reactions. Men want women to be cute,' she exclaims. 'Eulalie will never be cute.' »
-- Debbie Magidson (source)

« Final preparations are being made for the second shoot [for The Far Shore] up north. I've come to talk with [Judy] Steed [...]. I ask about Joyce [Wieland]. Steed tells me she is at a farm with Celine [Lomez] and Frank [Moore] [...] rehearsing for the shoot. She then gets to the heart of the matter. 'Joyce,' she explains, 'is incredible, her discipline beyond belief. Each detail does not escape her notice. She has that rare ability, before making decisions, to seek out every possible alternative, withhold her decision, and take the necessary time and care until she finally reaches the best possible answer.' »
-- Debbie Magidson (source)

« Unfortunately, the trees and lakes are often the most interesting characters [in The Far Shore]. When the background overwhelms the actors, the fault must lie with the director who has obviously lost sight of the fact that a balance must be maintained between humanity and nature. In a commercial film, at least. And that is what co-producers [Joyce] Wieland and Judy Steed have said The Far Shore is. That's how they raised $480,000 from the Canadian Film Development Corp., Famous Players Ltd. and other investors. »
-- Robert Martin (source)

« [In The Far Shore, Joyce] Wieland employs dramatic expressionistic light to intensify colour and often imitates a Baroque painterly illusionism. The mise-en-scène is simultaneously a visual correlative for the intense emotional crises of the heroine and a photographic encapsulation of European and Canadian art history; it relies upon such an extended play of painterly homage that it ruptures the smooth illusion of cinematic realism. As self-consciously composed 'forgeries', Wieland's images contradict the notion that they represent photographic material of a natural world. »
-- Lauren Rabinovitz (source)

« One specific moment [in The Far Shore] perfectly combines a dominant discourse that depicts the theme of patriarchal relations and a subversive discourse that critiques realist cinema practices. It is a scene two-thirds into the film when Eulalie, alone in her bedroom, feels fully the claustrophobic entrapment of her marriage. The film irises into a closeup of Eulalie which fades to a white iris framed in red. The image slowly fades up to a a canoe crossing a lake within the iris, and the then camera irises out so that the landscape image fills the entire frame. The tour de force of such an image-transition has multi-level effects. [...] »
-- Lauren Rabinovitz (source)

« They all said she could never raise the money or the native talent to make an artistic yet commercially acceptable film romance inspired by the life and death of Tom Thomson [...]. It took [Joyce] Wieland seven years to overcome the obstacles and put together the movie that Variety, a hard-headed show-business trade paper, has already hailed as a potential box-office hit as breathtakingly beautiful as Elvira Madigan. »
-- Frank Rasky (source)

« The exceptional color filming by Richard Leiterman and exquisite period costumes and props by Ann Pritchard make the $480,000 budget appear double. However, the strengths of filming and sets are not enough to pull The Far Shore out of its somewhat confusing mix of humour and soap into the mature feature it was intended to be. »
-- Marilyn Read (source)

« If one has the patience to ride out the intolerably slow beginning [of The Far Shore], there are ample rewards, both emotional and visual. »
-- Charles Ryweck (source)

« When filming experimentally and painting neo-classically, [Joyce] Wieland is in full command of her materials, but in The Far Shore, control has passed to a narrative form with imperatives that can be met readily by hacks but only with great effort and luck by artists of Wieland's stature. To make a successful narrative film (thoughtful or thoughtless, it doesn't matter), the ability to second-guess an audience's reaction to a line of dialogue or to a bit of business is all-important; otherwise, the message is lost in unwanted laughter. »
-- Jay Scott (source)

« The Far Shore proves a basic point: no matter how high the production values, no matter how skilled the acting, a film must stand or fall by its script. And The Far Shore falls...flat on its beautifully photographed face. »
-- Mike Segal (source)

« In dictionaries and overviews of Canadian film it is sometimes implied that The Far Shore was deemed a fiasco from the moment of its release in 1976, but this perception is inaccurate. [...] [Joyce] Wieland's film was taken seriously at the time of its release [...] and garnered many thoughtful and appreciative reviews. »
-- Johanne Sloan (source)

« The melodrama and pathos of [The Far Shore] should not be underestimated as an intervention into the aesthetics of landscape in Canada. The idea of introducing heightened emotion, torrid sex, financial greed, and murder into the story of Canadian art is anomalous and pleasurably shocking; who would have thought that the Canadian landscape was permeated with libidinal energy just like Arcadian landscapes of old? And the film does carry forth many of [Joyce] Wieland's thematic preoccupations, if not all of her formal ones: the plot of the film can be regarded as a kind of clash between 'passion' and 'reason,' whereby these are not presented as universal, timeless categories, but are instead historically specific forms of consciousness. »
-- Johanne Sloan (source)

« While [Joyce Wieland's] feature film does not share the style of the earlier experimental films, The Far Shore must, nonetheless, be regarded as an experiment—in its cross-pollination of cinematic and visual art genres. »
-- Johanne Sloan (source)

« The Far Shore is a very beautiful film, the first feature by Toronto artist Joyce Wieland, who for 10 years painted and made avant-garde film shorts in New York. She returned home in 1972 and started work on this film, which cost $480,000 and looks like twice that. Her co-producer, Judy Steed, is also a filmmaker hitherto only of shorts. Suggested by the still mysterious death, decades ago, of a youngish but worldknown Canadian painter, Tom Thomson, junior member of Canada's famed Group of Seven, The Far Shore is a good bet for art houses everywhere and, carefully handled, might go in general release—perhaps on a double bill, since it lacks names. So did Elvira Madigan, of course, and it was a smash. This is a far fresher film except visually; they're about equal there. Richard Leiterman's lensing, chiefly around Bon Echo Lodge in this general area, is sometimes breathtaking. »
-- Variety (source)

« Meanwhile, [Joyce] Wieland was taking a detour from art to film making, in the biggest (and most bitter) effort of her career—The Far Shore [...]. 'I'll never make another film,' she says now. 'When I hear somebody I know say they want to do one, I laugh.' After six years of writing, revising, fund-raising, hiring, firing, and exhausting bickering and bargaining, Wieland and partner Judy Steed were forced to admit defeat. After a brief opening and closing the $450,000 film never recouped its losses. »
-- Olivia Ward (source)

Publications de la réalisatrice sur The Far Shore

Bibliographie sur The Far Shore

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