Clément Perron

Clément Perron, screenwriter, director (b at Québec City 3 July 1929 - d at Pointe-Claire 12 Oct 1999). After graduating from Université Laval, Perron went to France to continue his studies with the goal of becoming a teacher. He was attracted to filmmaking through screenings at the Cinémathèque française in Paris, and he enrolled in the Institut de Filmologie. On his return to Canada in 1957, he joined the NATIONAL FILM BOARD as a screenwriter.

In 1962 he directed Jour après jour, a short documentary on a paper mill. This film created a good deal of interest and controversy through its use of synthetic sound and a poetic commentary to evoke the experience of working on repetitious and often dangerous jobs. Two years later, along with Jacques GODBOUT, Gilles CARLE, Denys ARCAND and Gilles GROULX, Perron attacked the NFB in the journal parti pris, claiming that it was "a gigantic propaganda machine." Although some members of this group soon left the NFB, Perron continued to work for change from within. He was named Executive Producer for French production in 1968 and was Director of the French Programming Committee from 1975 to 1978 and again from 1980 to 1982.

Perron's major contributions to Canadian cinema have been as a screenwriter for his own and other directors' films. His most successful screenplay was for Claude JUTRA's Mon oncle Antoine (1971), based on his own experiences as a child in La Beauce, the asbestos mining region of Québec. He also directed two feature films of his own in the same region: Taureau (1973) is a fable about intolerance set in the present, while Partis pour la gloire (1975) deals with the conscription crisis during World War II. All of these films were produced by the NFB.

During the 1980s, Perron went to western Canada to encourage French film production outside Québec. He wrote Le Vieillard et l'enfant (Claude Grenier, 1985), based on a story by Gabrielle ROY. Perron left the NFB in 1986 to work as a screenwriter in private industry.