The article below is a tribute to Marcel Simard, a central figure in Quebec cinema who is barely known in English Canada. Last Saturday, Marcel committed suicide after a long depression. His death is a terrible loss to cinema throughout Canada because, as his friend Marquise Lepage says in the extraordinary piece below, he made provocative films often about the people society prefers not to see.
It's the week of Hot Docs, as I have heard at every screening, the largest documentary film festival in the world. And it is great. I'm a movie lover but I've always been more of a TIFF fan. The love of documentary films is more recent for me, partly from my friendships with Monique Simard, now the Director of the NFB in Quebec and Velcrow Ripper, a director whose extraordinary new film Fierce Light is in Hot Docs and opens in theatres in Toronto and Vancouver on May 15 but also because documentary films have become so important to social change.