The Herqueville shoreline lies downhill from the Cogema nuclear waste processing plant, one of the world's largest. Its vitrified wastes are buried deep in the granite substrate at La Hague. In the summer of 2003, Michelle Corbisier and Serge Meurant, two friends of Pierre Hébert, visited Herqueville. Afterward, they created a series of etchings and poems. Wishing to associate himself with their modest poetic undertaking, Pierre Hébert filmed there in July 2005.
Herqueville, in the French department of Manche in Normandy, is home to one of the largest nuclear waste processing plants in the world (the La Hague processing plant). There, the waste is vitrified and then stored deep below the ground in granite bedrock. Just below the plant is the peaceful and lovely Herqueville shoreline. In the spirit of the postmodern and multidisciplinary explorations that have marked his work since Étienne et Sara in 1983, Pierre Hébert created this remarkable film which expresses a heightened ecological sensibility without lecturing or attempting to impress. In its form, the result resembles poetry or a literary essay, with the filmmaker synthesizing his research on artistic practices and melding them into his more recent explorations of digital tools. The result is mind-blowing. Hébert reconnected with English musician Fred Frith, with whom he collaborated on La technologie des larmes, and Belgian poet Serge Meurant, with whom he collaborated on Étienne et Sara, for the occasion. Visual artist Michelle Corbisier, whose etchings acted as an early interpretation of the landscapes Hébert reinterpreted with his animated sequences, was also added to the group. Similar questions are explored in the feature-length Le mont Fuji vu d’un train en marche, which Hébert completed in 2021.
Executive director, Cinémathèque québécoise
Director of more than 40 films, including three features (The Human Plant, 1996, Bazin’s Film, 2017 and Mount Fuji Seen from a Moving Train, 2021), Pierre Hébert worked at the National Film Board of Canada from 1965 to 1999. He is now an independent artist and his filmmaking work has taken a multidisciplinary scope (live animation performances with musicians, video installations, collaboration with choreographers, drawing, and actions on the web). He has also published several books on cinema as well as two drawing books. Since 2010, he pursues his Places and Monuments project combining animation and documentary, for which he received the prestigious career grant of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec in 2012 . In 2005, he was recipient of the Albert-Tessier Award for his complete works, and in 2018, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver.