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Denys Arcand

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Denys Arcand recieving the Order of Canada from Governor General Adrienne Clarkson in a ceremony performed at Rideau Hall on Friday, June 10, 2005.

Georges-Henri Denys Arcand, born June 25, 1941 in Deschambault, Quebec, Canada is an Academy Award winning film director, screenwriter and producer.

Arcand grew up in a devoutly religious Roman Catholic home in a village about 25 miles southwest of Quebec City. He attended Jesuit school for nine years. Entering his teen years, the family moved to Montreal and although he dreamed about being a professional tennis player, while studying for a Masters Degree in history at the Université de Montréal he became involved in film making that gave him a new sense of direction. During his university days, he and several friends would drive to New York City every few months to take in European films playing there that were not available in Quebec.

In 1963, he joined the National Film Board of Canada where he produced several award-winning documentaries in his French language. A social activist, he made a feature-length documentary in 1970 titled On est au coton (We work in Cotton) that showed the exploitation of textile workers. The film caused an uproar that resulted in it not being distributed publicly for several years. Arcand received such publicity that it gave his fledgling career a great boost. He also worked on some television series, notably Duplessis, a historical work he wrote (but did not direct) about Premier Maurice Duplessis.

During the early part of the 1970s Arcand produced a number of feature films that received critical acclaim. Arcand returned to directing documentaries and did no work for television. In 1982, his documentary, Le Comfort et l'indifférence won the Best Film prize from the Quebec Film Critics' Association. In 1986 he wrote and directed what was until then the highest grossing film in Quebec (and Canadian) history, Le Déclin de l'empire américain (The Decline of the American Empire). At the Canadian Genie Awards, it captured best film, best director, and best writer of an original screenplay. It also won the "International Critics Prize" at the Cannes Film Festival and became the first Canadian feature film nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Three years later Arcand repeated this award-garnering performance with his widely acclaimed 1989 film Jésus de Montréal (Jesus of Montreal) winning the same three Genie awards, plus the "Grand Jury Prize" at Cannes.

Arcand produced and directed his first English language film in 1993, titled Love and Human Remains, and did so again in 2000, with the film, "Stardom" which opened the Toronto International Film Festival. He then spent two years writing the script for what many claim is his finest piece of cinematic writing to date, Les invasions barbares (The Barbarian Invasions). Released in 2003, the film won Arcand the Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival, was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best Foreign Language Film and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In addition, Denys Arcand was nominated for an Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay.

Les Invasions barbares won France's 2004 César Award for Best Picture and Best Director plus the César Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Married a second time, neither Arcand nor his wife Denise have had children. He was 55 years old when they adopted an orphaned baby girl from China. In 1988, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 2005. In 1990 the Government of France awarded him the Legion of Honor. He finally earned from his own province one of its highest distinction, the title of Knight of the National Order of Quebec, in 2000. In February 2004, the government of France named Denys Arcand a Commander of L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, that nation's highest cultural honor.

Adapted from the article Denys Arcand (http://www.wikinfo.org/wiki.phtml?title=) Denys Arcand, from Wikinfo, licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Further Readings

  • Michel Coulombe, Denys Arcand. La vraie nature du cinéaste, (entretiens), Montréal: Boréal 1993
  • André Loiselle, Brian McIllroy (éd.), Auteur/Provocateur. The Films of Denys Arcand, Westport: Praeger 1995

See also

External links


fr:Denys Arcand

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