Paying tribute to Gilles Carle, legendary Quebec film director

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Gilles-Carle

Gilles Carle passed away over the weekend. To many people outside the French-speaking population of Quebec, the name might not ring any bells. But it should. Gilles Carle was an extraordinary director who pushed boundaries with films that dealt with sexuality, loss of innocence and Quebec’s distinct culture.

Amongst his works are classics like La vrai nature de Bernadette and Pudding Chomeur. Over the span of his career, he collected over 29 Gemini Awards and turned down offers to work in France and Hollywood, preferring instead to stay in Quebec and craft his social fables (his preferred term for his allegorical tales) for his devoted audience.

Carle was famous for his works of fiction, and he spent the early years of his career with the NFB. It was here that he made his first feature film La vie heureuse de Léopold Z (The Merry World of Leopold Z). After working many years in the private sector, he returned to the NFB in the late 70s and to make documentaries.

Carle died this past weekend of pulmonary pneumonia after living with Parkinson’s disease for the past 15 years. The Globe and Mail ran a lovely tribute to Carle in yesterday’s paper, which you can find here.

We’ve also put together a special selection of Carle’s films (in French) on ONF.ca in honour of his outstanding career. And if you’ve never seen one of his films, take the opportunity to do so now.

It’s never too late.