Pierre Perrault (1927-2007) and Gilles Carle (1928-2009), Two Director of the NFB with Different Career Paths
During the 1950s and the following decade, the National Film Board (NFB) was a breeding-ground for talented directors who made their mark on filmmaking in Quebec during the second half of the 20th century. Pierre Perrault and Gilles Carle were among these exceptional beings. Nothing seemed to predispose Pierre Perrault for a career of filmmaker, since he had studied law in universities in Montréal, Paris and Toronto. Yet in 1956, he joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a radio scriptwriter. In the early 1960s, at the NFB, he completed his first documentary entitled Pour la suite du monde (1963), a milestone of the NFB. It was also the cornerstone of an original piece of work contributing to the construction of a collective memoir. As a contemporary filmmaker, Perrault surveyed the soul of the country through the eyes of Quebecers and Amerindians. In addition to some fifteen awards and distinctions garnered for his filmmaking, Perrault was awarded almost a dozen more for his writing.
Like Perrault, Gilles Carle first worked for Radio-Canada and then the NFB in the capacity of researcher, followed by screenwriter and finally producer. He produced a few documentaries and a feature film (fiction) entitled La vie heureuse de Léopold Z (1965), which, at the start, was supposed to be a documentary on snow removal in Montréal. However, contrary to Perrault, who produced only documentaries, Carle focused on fictional films after his departure from the NFB in 1966. His favourite themes included women, the ordinary man and relations between individuals. He produced many documentaries in the 1980s. Gilles Carle did a considerable amount of work and was awarded many prizes. Few Canadian filmmakers have climbed the stairs of the Croisette at the Cannes Film Festival as many times (seven) as he. With Denys Arcand, he shared the status of best known Quebec filmmaker in the world.