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La raison avant la passion

Directed by Joyce Wieland
Canada, 1969 (avant-garde, 82 minutes, colour / black and white, English)
Also known as "Reason over Passion"

Film Description:
"[Reason over Passion is] a feature-length avant-garde film which brackets a section of treated and rephotographed footage of Pierre Elliott Trudeau at the 1968 Liberal convention with a series of hand-held tracking shots of the Canadian landscape from coast to coast, punctuated throughout by electronic beeps on the soundtrack and overlaid with multiple anagrams of the words 'reason over passion' (Trudeau's famous phrase) as superimposed subtitles."
-- Kay Armatage (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Cinematography: Joyce Wieland
Film Editing: Joyce Wieland
Production Company: Corrective Films

Notes about La raison avant la passion


Quotes by the Director

"After I made Reason over Passion, my first long film, I was made to feel in no uncertain terms by a few male filmmakers that I had overstepped my place, that in New York my place was making little films."
-- Joyce Wieland (source)

"At the time I photographed it [La raison avant la passion] (1967), I was in a panic; an ecological, spiritual panic about this country. [...] I was thinking about The Group of Seven and that certain artistic records have to be made at certain times. Just look what has happened to many of the places they sketched. There are old shoes and hamburger buns in those lakes. That country inspired some of the greatest landscapes painted in this world. I photographed the whole length of southern Canada to preserve it in my own way, with my own vision of it. I felt very strongly -- very passionately. Yet, the total result of the finished film is a nostalgic, sad feeling about the landscape."
-- Joyce Wieland (source)

Quotes about La raison avant la passion

"Part of what [Joyce] Wieland considered her ongoing role of feminizing national symbols, Reason Over Passion is an experimental nationalist road film (an experiment in nationalisms) cross-cutting idealized signifiers for Canada -- the national flag, images of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau -- with coast-to-coast shots of regional landscapes."
-- Christopher Gittings (source)

"In the opening sequence of her film Reason over Passion [...], Wieland includes a written version of the words to O Canada immediately followed by a close-up of the lower half of her face silently mouthing the words to the national anthem. This firmly establishes Wieland as author of this alternative, gendered discourse of nation, literally claiming and re-presenting her own version of the anthem as intimately bound to the bodily and sensorial."
-- Kristy A. Holmes-Moss (source)

"The film takes a statement from then-Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Trudeau ('Reason over passion, that is the theme of all of my writings') as its cohering element, as its caveat about devaluing assumptions and emotions in the search for (supposed) rationality and truth. [...] Trudeau's statement is rendered incoherent, literally, by the seemingly random scrambling of the letters of the alphabet that make up his original utterance and, metaphorically, in what (if anything) this statement says about Canada. In so doing, Wieland makes a powerful statement about what becomes of passion in the face of obsessive ordering and rationality; it loses meaning, it loses sense."
-- James Missen (source)

Bibliography for La raison avant la passion

Book Chapters

Brief Sections of Books

Journal Articles


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