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CFP: Nouvelle Vues: Issue 22 (Spring 2021): Intercultural Encounters

Deadline: December 1, 2020.

In an 2008 essay, Denis Bachand declared that interculturality was one of the two most prevalent tendencies in Québécois film production of the twenty-first century. As a vector of Quebec identity, it remains an issue at the forefront of Québécois culture and cinema.[1]

Indeed, if the last two decades offer numerous examples of productions which clearly engage with questions connected to multiculturalism and to Québécois identity (Littoral [dir. Wajdi Mouawad, 2004] , Home [dir. Phyllis Katrapani, 2002]), these themes have been present on Quebec screens for over sixty years, with films such as À tout prendre (dir. Claude Jutra, 1963), Mémoire battante (dir. Arthur Lamothe, 1983) and Comment faire l’amour avec un nègre sans se fatiguer (dir. Jacques Benoit, 1989). More recently, a special issue of Contemporary French Civilization reiterated this affirmation by declaring that transnationalism is more present than ever in the field of cinema in the way that Québécois cinema focuses on questions of identity, culture and identification.[2]

This phenomenon is possible through the symbolic and physical opening of internal/external Québec borders and film production. On the one hand, the last twenty-five years have seen an explosion of co-productions with countries such as France, Belgium and the United States, while on the other hand, filmmakers have gained more mobility – we can think of filmmakers such as Xavier Dolan producing films in France and the U.S. and Jean-Marc Vallée directing more than three films and one HBO series in the U.S. Additionally, the opening of borders and an increasing immigration rate have considerably changed the face and landscape of Quebec cinema. Also noticeable are the increased recognition and integration of diversity on the territory, with the emergence of Indigenous and Anglo-Montrealer cinema, for example. These new political realities are pushing Quebec forward, encouraging people and political leaders to redefine nationalism in correspondence with a deterritorialization and a broadening of cultures.[3]

It is also in this context that the last ten years has witnessed the emergence and growing popularity of Indigenous and migrant cinemas. These tend to reflect the political and social climate of a province which is spending more time questioning its role as a colonizer (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) and as a “terre d’accueil” for immigrant communities (Bouchard-Taylor Commission and Loi sur la laïcité). These have all greatly contributed to this reconfiguration of Quebec cinema, with Indigenous and migrant filmmakers positioning themselves as mediators between their land of origin and the new territory they inhabit, and between the land of their ancestors and the frontiers that stretch beyond its territory. In many cases, the works built by these filmmakers presents elements of “métissage” born through multiple encounters with the “Other” – a term used by film specialist Bill Marshall to qualify Indigenous and immigrant communities in Canada, in regard to questions of Quebec nationalism and identity.[4]

Thus, we are now seeing the redesigned contours of an industry and an art form advocating for more diversity and collaboration in the elaboration of heterogenous film landscapes, which brings filmmakers to explore identity and nation following new ethical (production modes) and aesthetic (narration, themes, etc.) criteria. Indeed, whether through collaborations between filmmakers coming from different parts of the country/province/world (for example, Marie-Hélène Cousineau and the Arnait Video collective of Inuit women) or by making films looking to create a bridge between different worlds (Antigone [dir. Sophie Deraspe, 2019], Inch’Allah [dir. Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, 2012] and Trois histoires d’Indiens, [dir. Robert Morin, 2014]), Québec cinema and its industry are multiplying the opportunities of intercultural encounters (real and symbolic) by financing those films and by giving plural identities better visibility. This integration of the “Other” contributes to the hybridization of Québécois cinema, getting the people and institutions to redefine and broaden the scope of its definition of “who is Québécois,” a question already present in Pierre Perrault’s 1970 documentary Un pays sans bon sens.

Furthermore, the stories born from these collaborations, sometimes gateways between past and future, participate in the elaboration of new questions in regards to the nation and “des identités composées” (Maalouf, 1998), which engages older and new generations to participate in a broader dialogue on cultural memory (La vallée des larmes [dir. Maryanne Zéhil, 2012] and Incendies, [dir.Denis Villeneuve,2010]).

It is with this in mind that Nouvelles vues is soliciting proposals for articles addressing these diverse collaborations between Indigenous, migrant and Québécois filmmakers and stories for its 22nd number entitled “Intercultural Encounters.” The journal also invites proposals investigating cosmopolitanism and the hybridization of Québécois imaginaries, in a context where national identity is in permanent mutation. Possible topics may include:

  • Indigenous or migrant cinemas and collaborations with Québécois filmmakers;

  • Migrants cinemas and their representation of Québec society;

  • The representation of new migrant or Indigenous realities by Québec filmmakers;  

  • The hybridization of Québec cinema and its opening of borders (alterity, the Other, diasporas, transnationalism);

  • The redefinition and inclusion of Québec cinema in its quest to include a larger intercultural and multicultural diversity in its works;

The submissions must include a title, a brief biography as well as an abstract of a maximum of 500 words. The abstract must delineate a corpus and put forward a thesis following one the angles or subjects suggested. The submission can be sent to and by September 15, 2020. (***New deadline is December 1st, 2020) The authors whose submissions are accepted will have to submit their article (written in English or French) of 45,000 to 60,000 characters, spaces included, by February 15, 2021. The articles will be submitted to a double-blind peer-review process, and their publication will by conditional to their acceptance by at least two reviewers.

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