I have not been writing in this blog for a long time but a lot have been happening over the last month and a half or so. The main thing is that Herqueville is finished. I got the HD and Betacam transfers on tuesday this week. I must say it was a happy ending. The work with Claude Beaugrand on the sound was intense like all the previous time we worked together (La Plante humaine, the 50th anniversary clip for the Montreal Art Council). I think I mentioned it, but Claude had to face a situation similar to what I myself experienced when I started working on the animation. His judgment was that Fred Frith’s music was totally doing the job and that he could not see what he could add to it. The music track seemed enough.
I came up with a few idea which mostly had to do with making space more tangible with sounds of waves and birds. And there was the problem of adding sounds in a way that would make them really distinct from the music. With Fred type of music, this was not an obvious job. The process lasted for over a month time (not continuous work though) and slowly a dramatic (almost narrative) structure grew out of the sound editing process. It is quite amazing that when you give a film away to sound editing with a person like Claude, it is like starting it all over again, meaning and structure. Claude summarize it in saying that the director has to accept that the film is going to be first destructed and then rebuilded, but the destructive part is unavoidable. The same thing happened at the mix. If you agree to give some space to the mixer, again you’re back to the drawing board. Louis Gignac was more than willing to get totally involved. So again we had to go back to the very roots of the film so that he could reconstruct everything and not only do what we wanted him to do in a functional way. The result was way beyond what I had been dreaming of.
Another nice moment was the translation of the poems. Serge Meurant’s writing is so concise that this was not an easy thing. An other aspect of the difficulty was that the English subtitles had to appear under the French original text which is not simply appearing on the screen in an abstract way. The actions of my hands are seen putting on screen the sheets of paper on which the verses are printed and then movement of waves can be seen in the body of the letters. All of those non literary actions have also to be seen by the English spectators while they read the subtitles. So concision was an absolute necessity. The translation of the poems was done by Fred A. Reed, a person I had known more than thirty years ago and had lost track off. So this also was an intense experience. And I was glad that Serge agreed with the translation.
I also decided to drop the new title Herqueville ou l’éblouissement d’Icare and go back to the original simpler title Herqueville. I thought that the longer title was trying to say too much and that it was also underscoring the fact that the film was fundamentally a meditation on a place and that the name of that place was the best way to convey that. Nevertheless, having this too complex title for a while proved useful because it made me develop an Icarus thread in the film that would not have been there orherwise. And I am quite happy about this.
So everything came together in time for the Festival du Nouveau Cinema where the film is going to be premiered.
On another front, the 3DVD’s set of my film is just about to be released during the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma. It was already mentioned in Le Devoir. Everybody seems to think that it is very beautiful. It was put on sale publicly for the first time during the Ottawa Animation Festival. I was there to do a signing session which was not much, but it seems that the DVD set did sell rather well. And I was happy to be at the festival and see people and some films. But the real thing is going to be on October 17 with a cocktail and the performance with René Lussier and Robert Marcel Lepage.
And I was going to forgetÉ�renovating my kitchen is taking up most of my time.