A Wet-Collodion Movie

Discussion in 'Book, Magazine, Gallery Reviews, Shows & Contests' started by Michel Hardy-Vallée, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

    Apr 2, 2005
    Montréal (QC
    Multi Format
    Yesterday, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) announced that they were putting online 700 movies for free viewing, to celebrate their 70th anniversary.

    Among those available, is a little gem from 1976, called J.A. Martin Photographe. It's a Québec movie about a 19th century photographer who leaves his family every summer to tour the region of Québec to take and sell portraits. Of course, he works with wet-collodion and travels with his portable darkroom in a horse-drawn carriage, like a good APUGger!

    It's an auteur movies, from the good years of the NFB when it was the driving force behind Québec cinema. Obviously, it's in French, and there are no subtitles (yet?), but it has very sparse dialogue, a slow pace, fitting for the slow pace of rural 19th century life.

    The opening sequence will be interesting for collodion fans: it intercuts the preparation in darkness of a collodion plate with the light-filled house where the wife works on househould chores.

    In terms of storyline, it reminded me a lot of Kryzstof Kieslowski's Amator, which is about the tensions created inside a couple by the husband's gradually intensive involvment in amateur 8mm filmmaking. In J.A. Martin Photographe, the photographer is a professional, but in both films the drama depends on the discrepancy between being a photographer/cinematographer and what is considered a "normal" way of living.

    Any of you having both a passion for photography and a significant other will immediately recognize certain familiar feelings...

    You can stream the movie here:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2009