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Quebec, 1985

Production : ONF / NFB

Programmed by Marcel Jean

Without dialogue

Les films de Pierre Hébert


In this animated film without words, filmmaker Pierre Hébert and musicians Robert Marcel Lepage and René Lussier worked together, and separately, in their respective media. This cinema/music performance recreates, impressionistically, the dehumanizing environment of the urban subway. Drawings etch the outlines of people hurtling through space in underground tunnels. The soundtrack, elemental and atonal, gives compelling expression to their alienation.

A word from Tënk

Inspired by the techniques of musicians Robert Marcel Lepage and René Lussier, who worked at the time with sounds produced by a variety of machines, Pierre Hébert compiled a diversity of notes, photos and observational drawings to create this film about social behaviours in Montréal’s Métro. An unwillingness to engage, impermeability in the presence of others and the power of machinery are all themes in this reflection on urbanity as it reveals a ceaseless violence and forces the viewers to call their personal experiences into question. This work marked the beginning of Hébert’s series on places, and the real-life material he gathered for it would go on to define his imposing Places and Monuments series. The soundtrack for Songs and Dances of the Inanimate World – The Subway was developed through a series of public performances throughout the autumn of 1984. In the context of the director’s filmography, this urgently created film heralded his “directly scratched” animations to come, which culminated in La letter d’amour and The Human Plant.

Marcel Jean
Executive director, Cinémathèque québécoise

Item 1 of 4
Item 1 of 4

Item 1 of 4