The Fragile Shadow of Things

Genre:  Documentary
Running Time:  84 min.
Release Date: March 30, 2007 (limited)

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Cast: Jacques Giraldeau, Élise Guilbault, Hibert Fielden


Jacques Giraldeau takes a trip down memory lane when he discovers that the two schools he attended as a youth have both been demolished. At the same time, in his family documents he finds 26 personal notebooks that belonged to an aunt born in 1900, along with thirty-nine short 16 mm films entitled Petites médisances, which he shot in 1953-1954, and which are now considered the first attempts at direct cinema. They show images of daily life in a gently mocking fashion.

Fifty years later, these films take on an entirely new significance. This is the starting point of a journey into time and memory, in search of the shadow of things. Also coming into play are family album photographs and correspondence of Marie-Claire Blais written between 1960 to 1980. To these fragmented stories, other memories attach, other fragments of life: missed encounters in Havana and Isle-aux-Grues with painter Évariste Quesnel, a poet-friend who died in an accident; pears from Argentina; a portrait of a diseased painter-friend; as well as more recent events.

Director: Jacques Giraldeau
Studio: ONF/National Film Board
Producer(s): Yves Bisaillon
Screenplay: Jacques Giraldeau
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