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This film is
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The Shimmering Beast

Filmmaker : Pierre Perrault Québec, 1982 PRODUCTION : ONF
128'
French English

About this film

Synopsis

A moose hunt is the pretext for this film. Nine men and their Indian guide withdraw to the wilderness to spend one week together away from their daily routines. The film charts the social dynamics of this diverse group, how they relate to one another--alternately revealing and disguising their feelings. A rich mix of personalities lends relief to the human topography in this documentary about an annual event that brings out the best and worst in men. The filmmaker chose not to embellish what the camera recorded.

Tënk's opinion

This film is probably the last thing we would expect from Pierre Perrault. Whether or not it’s well received, this documentary doesn’t fit in a logical sequence with the filmmaker’s previous works. It offers a raw look at an upsetting truth, revealed over the course of filming through Martin Leclerc’s camera work. The film’s subjects show an extraordinary depth of ease and generosity. Some may say it’s a gift of cinema.

We have here a group of hunters with a taste for gambling; they talk to hear themselves speak. At any risk. Drunk as skunks. A poetry born of friendship, both tender and cruel. It raises the question: what is the point of this adventure?

The film’s moose hunt is merely a pretext. This beast is not a trophy to be killed or filmed as it’s hunted; it’s a legendary beast to tell tales about.

The setting for this film is the grand meeting of the “pocailles de Maniwaki” (from “pockeye”, referring to eyes that betray the rough night they had before) who, yearly, head off to a hunting camp to recount the myth of the shimmering beast and pour their hearts out to their friends.

Arriving just as autumn comes to an end, these men, having only recently emerged from boyhood, dispose of an anarchic freedom. To their credit, they succeed in putting this myth to incredible imagery. The rest of the world falls away. And nothing happens that isn’t supposed to happen.

Christian Mathieu Fournier
Filmmaker

Filmmaker

Pierre Perrault

Pierre Perrault is a filmmaker, poet and writer (1927-1999) who made a deep impression on Canadian cinema. He was one of Québec’s most significant and celebrated artists, both a major literary figure and one of Canada’s most important filmmakers. His collective work in radio, film, television and print explore the genesis and nature of French Canadian culture and identity. A pioneer of direct cinema, his elegiac 1963 documentary Pour la suite du monde, co-directed with Michel Brault, is a landmark in Canadian film. His writing received numerous major prizes, including three Governor General’s Literary Awards for poetry, theatre and non-fiction. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of the Quiet Revolution from the Government of Québec for his contributions to Québec culture during the 1960s.