Félix Dufour-Laperrière / CA, 2021 / 72 min.
Tapping into the soul of a homeland, Felix Dufour-Laperrière'sArchipel is an impressionistic travelogue that journeys into the real and invented Quebec of yesterday and today.
Don't expect a dull, informative documentary on the mainly Francophone province in Canada. This is a stunning, lyrical, and free-spirited showcase of 12 animators working in 12 different styles, evoking a notebook of interior wanderings along the St. Lawrence River and its thousands of islands towards the Atlantic.
Through an intimate and enigmatic dialogue between a woman and a man who questions her existence, director Dufour-Laperrière builds a reflection on what makes a territory, whether it is real or symbolic. Said to be inspired by Sans Soleil by the French film essay pioneer Chris Marker, the Quebec director has always shown an interest in the intricate tension between narrative and form, and in the rhythm of animation, words and music. His latest feature excavates the Canadian ground and heritage, and evolves into a whimsical semi-fictional documentary on a real or dreamed country, or something in between. Combining image and word - even Innu poet Joséphine Bacon is heard reading one of her works - Archipel asks us what makes a land into a community and invites us on an imaginary journey, full of poetry, raw archive footage (incorporated in the animation), swirling words, old maps and photographs, and hi(stories) of struggle and pain. "Do you exist?", the male asks the female voice. Maybe it doesn't even matter. The film voyage is real. And we get to experience it.
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