Poirier, Anne-Claire 1932-
POIRIER, Anne-Claire 1932-
Born 1932, in St. Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada. Education: University of Montréal, degree in law; studied theater at Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique.
Film producer, director, editor, and author. During early career, worked as an interviewer, host, drama critic, and actress for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.; worked for French section of National Film Board of Canada, beginning 1960, including as executive producer of program Challenge for Change Société nouvelle. Director of films, including (and editor) 30 Minutes, Mister Plummer, 1963, (and editor) La Fin des étés, 1964, Les Ludions, 1965, De mère en fille, 1968, Le Savoir-faire s'impose, 1971, (and producer) Les Filles du roi, 1974, (and producer) Le Temps de l'avant, 1975, (and producer) Mourir à tuetête, 1979, La Quarantaine, 1982, (and producer) Salut Victor!, 1989, and Tu as crié: Let Me Go, 1997. Also producer of films, including Souris, tu m'inquiètes, 1973, À qui appartient ce gage?, 1973, J'me Marie, j'me Marie pas, 1974, Les Filles c'est pas pareil, (1974), Ti-Dré, 1976, Shakti, 1976, Québec à vendre, 1977, La P'tite violence, 1977, Le Menteur, 1977, Famille et variations, 1977, Surtout l'hiver, 1977, and Raison d'être, 1977. Also editor of film Day after Day, 1962. Acting role in À tout prendre, 1964; also appeared as herself in several films, or as narrator.
Appointed to the National Order of Québec, 1985; Albert Tessier Award for lifetime achievement, Government of Québec, 1988; Grand Prix Hydro-Québec, Festival du Cinema International, 1988, for Salut Victor!; Genie Award for best feature-length documentary, Vancouver International Film Festival, 1997, for Tu as crié: Let Me Go; Governor-General's Performing Arts Award, 2001; Jutra-Hommage Award for lifetime achievement, La Grande Nuit du Cinéma, 2002.
(With Paul-Marie Lapointe) Voir Miami, 1962.
30 Minutes, Mister Plummer (short film), 1963.
(With Hubert Aquin) La Fin des étés (short film), 1964.
(With Jeanne Morazain and Maurice Blackburn) Les Filles du roi, 1974.
(With Marthe Blackburn and Louise Carré) Le Temps de l'avant, 1975.
(With Marthe Blackburn) Mourir à tue-tête, 1979.
(With Marthe Blackburn) La Quarantaine, 1982.
(With Marthe Blackburn) Salut Victor!, 1989.
(With Marie-Claire Blais) Tu as crié: Let Me Go, 1997.
Also author of scenarios for 30 Minutes, Mister Plummer, 1963, and De mère en fille.
Throughout her long career, Canadian film director, producer, and writer Anne-Claire Poirier has consistently made films with feminist and humanist concerns. She explores serious issues facing young, contemporary women, from defining one's place in society and attaining personal satisfaction to dealing with the aftereffects of sexual violence.
Through the 1970s Poirier's films focused on feminist issues. Les Filles du roi examines the roles of women in the history of Québec, from squaw and settler's wife to self-sufficient member of the workforce. In the film, Poirier differentiates between the historical role of women as wives and mothers and their contemporary, post-feminist identity, while spotlighting the challenges couples must face if they are to work together and thrive. Le Temps de l'avant deals with the abortion issue, as it charts the plight of a happily married woman who already has three children. She finds herself pregnant and, with her husband, must make the torturous decision of whether to abort or have the baby. Mourir à tue-tête chronicles the rape and subsequent suicide of a nurse, whose sense of self is destroyed as a result of the brutality she experiences. Here, Poirier examines the reasons why women may feel they somehow are to blame for their sexual victimization.
In the 1980s Poirier expanded her thematic horizons and wrote La Quarantaine and Salut Victor!, dramas that sympathetically examine the lives of older characters. The former chronicles a reunion of The Gang, a clique of men and women who came of age together. After a three-decade-long separation, they meet one more time to sing, recollect old times, and reveal the triumphs and disappointments of their lives. Salut Victor! charts the evolving friendship between two elderly residents of an old-age home: Philippe, a new arrival who no longer can care for himself, and who has come there to pass his remaining time and die; and Victor, talkative and spirited, who cherishes life yet is pragmatic about his surroundings. Victor also is proudly gay, and has suffered for his lifestyle; he had left his wife and children for a man, an airline pilot who was killed in a plane crash, and remains estranged from his family. He quickly befriends, and positively impacts on, the less outgoing, more pessimistic Philippe. They share some repartee, with Philippe eventually admitting that he too is gay, and has spent his life deeply hidden in the closet. But the crux of the story is the relationship between these two elderly gentlemen, and the warmth and solace they find in their friendship. In Poirier's earliest films, she deals thoughtfully and compassionately with women's issues. In La Quarantaine and Salut Victor!, made as she herself matured, she explores the emotions and attitudes of those who are no longer young.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
New York Times, October 8, 1979, Janet Maslin, "Screen: Graphic Treatment of a Violent Crime: Rape Dissected," review of Mourir à tue-tête.
National Film Board of Canada Web site,http://www.nfb.ca/ (February 19, 2002), biography of Anne-Claire Poirier.*