Sometimes even the best intentioned plans get sidetracked. Back in January and February, I was all keen on seeing all 15 exhibits that Publicité Sauvage was organizing for their 25th anniversary. I saw the first three, got the book (thank you very much Emmanuel Galland) and then wasn’t able to get my sorry ass over to Dawson College in time to see the fourth. So my guess would be that other than the organizers, by the end of the year, no one will have seen all 15. Pity.
After kicking myself from here to Timbuktu, getting depressed and sulking around lots, I got got up, got dressed and made my way down to the Cinémathèque Québécoise to see the fifth exhibit. Like the first three (and I presume the fourth) it was more documentary in nature than artistic. Initially, when I saw the first three I had some difficulties, because I was expecting a more artsy show, and adjusting my expectations accordingly on the fly wasn’t exactly as easy as falling out of bed.
But this time I knew what I was getting myself into. I still was left with a small, very small, disappointment, but not from expectations not being met. On the flip side, I was pleasantly surprised to see how popular exhibit number five was at the Cinémathèque Québécoise. It kind of makes sense, people going to see a film tend to arrive early, and as there is no popcorn or candy, people tend to congregate in front of the screening rooms themselves, and that’s exactly where the exhibit was located. Then upon some thought, I realized (and you might, too) that people going to the Cinémathèque Québécoise probably have a higher interest in all things film than your average person, and you have the magic formula for getting people interested and engaged in an exhibit of posters.
The show itself was organized into two sections. Festivals and films. You gotta remember that these exhibits are all based on the idea of exhibiting posters that Publicité Sauvage had initially be hired to post all over town. I don’t know how the selection was made for either them initially being hired, or in choosing what to exhibit now. Although I imagine that there was a certain amount of “natural selection” involved in the exhibit, as I strongly doubt that when they started anyone methodically and consistently did any archiving. It was kind of a given that the posters exhibited at the Cinémathèque Québécoise would be film based.
On the festival side, they seemed to have one example from each film festival in town (and there are a bunch). Visually none of them knocked my socks off. But then when I started looking at the tags a little bit closer, I discovered that the poster for the 15th Montreal World Film Festival had been originally drawn by Federico Fellini, not exactly what I was expecting. And that a friend of mine, Rupert Bottenberg was responsible for the 1999 Fantasia film festival poster.
On the actual film side, I wasn’t able to figure out if there was any similar type of theme with regards to what was exhibited. There weren’t any names that jumped out at me, and since I am such a massive Québécois film buff, absolutely all the posters were instantaneously recognizable and brought a flood of memories streaming back. (For those of you who might be challenged to recognize sarcasm, that last sentence was it – I think if I tried real hard I knew that there was a film called Les Invasions Barbares, and I might have some brain cells that also recall Le Party. But I haven’t seen either one, and all the others are complete blanks.
This is where the tiny bit of disappointment set in. I have no idea if these are the best movies that they promoted, or if they did something like choose one per year, or if this is the entire stock they have. I would have liked to see something explaining the choices made and the significance of the choices.
I guess I’m going to have to buckle down and read the darn book to see if it sheds any light. And for those interested, exhibit 7/15 is going to be shown at the Monument National from June 5 to August 5. And if you are interested in the complete list it is here.