Films & Schedules

  • La mémoire des anges
    La Mémoire des angels

  • Luc Bourdon

English, French
80 minutes
Colour/and Digital Betacam

Production Company:
National Film Board of Canada
Christian Medawar
Michel Giroux
Sylvain Bellemare, Frédéric Cloutier
Principal Cast: Oscar Peterson, Paul Anka, Igor Stravinsky, Geneviève Bujold

International Sales Agent:
National Film Board of Canada

Friday September 0502:30PM AMC 9 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Sunday September 0705:30PM AMC 1 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Watching La Mémoire des anges is like reconnecting with old friends and finding comfort in the familiar embrace of shared history. The film is a glorious reminder of Quebec and Canada's rich motion picture history, and a chronicle of the evolution of the city of Montreal, from its industrial heyday to its time as a stage for the Quiet Revolution and Expo 67. Consisting of more than 120 excerpts from NFB films, it also reveals the vital role the National Film Board has played in the development of Canadian cinema.

Using the works of legendary filmmakers – including Gilles Carle, Claude Jutra, Michel Brault, Arthur Lipsett, Gilles Groulx and Denys Arcand – La Mémoire des anges knits its visual landscape from some of the greatest films ever made in Canada. Director Luc Bourdon arranges these iconic moments into a montage that is both a testament to the works' enduring artistry and a captivating experience in its own right. Michel Giroux's meticulous editing exposes the subtle and not-so-subtle effects of time's passage, from shifts in fashion and transportation to changes in politics and religion. The montage restores a vibrant potency to the films, their interaction with one another encouraging us to reinterpret and reformulate their meanings. Propelling the historical narrative is a soundtrack comprising everything from Igor Stravinsky to a young Oscar Peterson to Paul Anka in Lonely Boy. The resulting work is a moving representation not only of a city and a country, but an entire culture.

As much as La Mémoire des anges displays the maturation of Quebec culture, it is an equally adept portrait of the evolution of cinematic technique. Bourdon captures the birth of direct cinema and its transition from documentary to fiction film. Both a lesson in cinema and a much-needed national document, La Mémoire des anges is romantic, reflective and visually transfixing. You will not see another film like it this year, and we will need another sixty years of brilliant filmmaking before we accumulate enough memories for a sequel.

Jesse Wente

Luc Bourdon is a Montreal-born video artist. His works have screened at festivals throughout North and South America, Europe and Japan, as well as at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. He has taught video at Concordia University and L'Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, and film at the National Theatre School of Canada. La Mémoire des anges (08) is his first documentary feature.

Cadillac People's Choice Award