________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 18. . . . May 9, 2003

cover Suzor-Coté.

Serge Giguère (Director). André Gladu (Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2002.
52 min., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: 143C 9101 191

Subject heading:
Sculpture, Modern 20th century-Quebec-Video recording.

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.

Review by Ann Ketcheson.

**** /4


Art....whose purpose is to shed light on life.

Suzor-Coté, one of Canada's foremost artists and a master painter and sculptor whose work became the forerunner of the painting revolution in Quebec in the 1940's, was born in Arthabaska Quebec in 1869. He led a bohemian life in Canada, Europe and the United States.

     This National Film Board film provides basic biographical information and some insights into Suzor-Coté's personality. However, rather than a "dull documentary style," the film uses many interesting methods to tell Suzor-Coté's story. There are dramatic re enactments which bring the artist to life for viewers. We also hear comments from his contemporaries and quotes from Suzor-Coté himself. A feel for the era comes through not only the re-enactments but also from vintage film and photos from the late 1800's and the turn of the century.

     Many of those who speak are French-Canadians who knew Suzor-Coté as "the local boy" as well as a great artist. These interviews add a wonderful flavor and realism to the story. Since such interviews are done in French, the film is subtitled in several places.

     We are treated to views of dozens of paintings: portraits, historic events, and especially landscapes of Suzor-Coté's beloved Arthabaska region in the winter. There is no mistaking the Canadian feel of these landscapes! Early in the film, beautiful landscapes drift across the screen accompanied by classical music. At times, it is difficult to know where the real landscapes stop and the paintings begin for the two are beautifully meshed.

     The only slight flaw in the film is that little information is given as to the techniques used by Suzor-Coté. The serious art student might miss this, but I feel it doesn't take away from the overall excellence of the production. Those of us who are lucky enough to view this video will come away not only with more knowledge about the man and artist as well as his family and friends, but also with a better feeling for and understanding of the Quebec countryside, the Québécois people and the general era of the later 1800's until 1937 when Suzor-Coté died. I highly recommend the film, not just for students of art but for anyone who wishes to deepen a knowledge of our Canadian culture and heritage.

Highly Recommended.

Ann Ketcheson, a former teacher of high school English and French, currently is the teacher-librarian at Peterborough Collegiate in Peterborough, ON.


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ISSN 1201-9364