An influential cinematographer, director and writer, Michel Brault worked as a professional photographer before finding himself in the field of cinema, thanks to the encouragement of his friend and colleague Claude Jutra. Brault collaborated with Jacques Giraldeau on Petites médisances (1953–1954, 39 episodes), a series made using the innovative new principles of the "Candid Eye movement.” In 1956, he joined the National Film Board, where he worked as a cameraperson on a number of Candid Eye series films, most notably The Days Before Christmas (1958, directed by Terence Macartney-Filgate).
That same year, Brault co-directed Les raquetteurs (1958) with Gilles Groulx, a work that was heralded as a sort of manifesto for the NFB’s francophone filmmakers. Defending a different approach to cinema, from then on Brault was part of a new documentary process that was equally technically innovative and artistically innovative. He worked on several films that have become classics; for instance… read more
Another Canadian filmmaker that I am very disappointed with. I have already seen about 4 films of his, including his Cannes winning "achievement" Les Ordres and all I see is the same thing that I saw with Jutra: flat characters, slow paced scenes, and subpar acting. His films are lightyears behind from France's New Wave achievers.
Subtlety and realism are hallmarks of Brault's style, as of the style of Canadian film to which you seem to take such exception. All smarminess aside, might I suggest Cronenberg, Maddin, or McDonald for you? Or maybe Mankiewicz or Robert Morin, as far as Québécois directors go? Might get more bang for your buck if you stop exploring a school of filmmaking that clearly isn't your thing. Life's too short.
Being real and subtle does not necessarily mean to bore the audience member. I've seen films from the US, UK, and parts of Europe and Asia that were able to pull both characteristics off without diluting the overall film itself. Brault is naturally not a good filmmaker if he puts out films about injustice like "Les Orders" and "Quand je serai..." and bores the audience with snail paced scenes that makes film more soap opera-ish and less cinematically masterful.
Can't help thinking your pursuit is going about it backwards - you're coming at it from a cosmopolitan scheme and seeing only regionality, instead of starting with the regionality of the cinema and from there finding the link into the universal. It's a question of accessibility, not of quality - Brault isn't trying to do anything remotely like the Nouvelle Vague and the imposition of those standards on his work is obviously going to find him lacking.
Apparently not only is your definition of wooden my definition of its opposite, but so is soap opera-ish. Brault, soap opera-ish? This has to be the wrongest sounding statement I've read on Mubi so far. I don't think I will ever understand you mister Bailey. Also "bores me" doesn't equal "bores the audience", just as "entertains me" doesn't equal the same for the audience, you should know that considering the New Wave is largely considered boring to non-cinephile audiences.
I'd also echo Malkin's “life's too short” comment, because frankly you seem to have your mind already made on the subject. But apparently you enjoy trashing an entire nation's cinema for not adhering to your narrow view of what constitute quality cinema. For a film buff, you seem to actively try not to see any qualities in these films. But I admit I'd be interested of reading some more in-depth criticism of Canadian cinema from you, because your blurbs are all about “boring”, diluted”, “dull”, “flat” words so unspecific they could be used by anybody to criticize any films.