Pierre Hébert

In Adieu bipède (1987), Hébert turned to performance, using the scratching technique for the scenes with dancing and music. He used the same technique in La Lettre d'amour (1988).


Hébert, Pierre

 Pierre Hébert, director of animated films, engraver (b at Montréal 19 Jan 1944). Stimulated by Norman MCLAREN, Hébert experimented early in his career with the technique of scratching directly on the opaque parts of both exposed and non-exposed film and directed films dominated by effects made possible through optical printing: Opus I (1964), Op hop hop op (1965) and Autour de la perception (1968). Later, attracted to a more political and profound type of animation and using simple techniques, he produced 3 original works, Père Noël, Père Noël (1974), Entre chiens et loup (1978) and Souvenirs de guerre (1982). After 1982 Hébert entered a phase working on the boundary between film animation and other aesthetic forms: Étienne et Sara (1984) takes us into the world of poetry; Chants et Danses du monde inanimé - le métro (1984) into that of dance and music; Ô Picasso (Tableaux d'une surexposition) (1985) into that of painting.

In Adieu bipède (1987), Hébert turned to performance, using the scratching technique for the scenes with dancing and music. He used the same technique in La Lettre d'amour (1988). Similarly, his improvisations on the performance spectacle La Plante humaine were used in his first long film of the same name (1996). By concerning himself with violence, television and ordinary people, by interspersing realistic shots, actual images overlaid with engraved or scratched ones, and computer-generated coloured prints, by emphasizing soundtrack and musical motifs, Hébert's work is a true synthesis: his experiments in animation and in mixing technique are unprecedented and skilful.

Since 1965, Hébert has often collaborated on scenes of animation in the works of other directors. In 1988, he was the first recipient of the Héritage-McLaren Prize awarded by the Association internationale du cinéma d'animation (ASIFA) Canada to recognize the career of an animator whose works demonstrate the same artisanal skill as that of McLaren. He has served as president of the CINÉMATHÈQUE QUÉBÉCOISE and now directs the animation studio of the French program for the National Film Board.


Further Reading

  • Pierre Hébert, L'Ange et l'automate (1999); Marcel Jean, Pierre Hébert, l'homme animé (1996).