Denis Héroux

Denis Héroux, film director, producer (born 15 July 1940 in Montréal, Qc; died 10 December 2015 in Montréal).

denis h\u00e9roux
denis h\u00e9roux made a name for himself in 1968 with Val\u00e9rie, the first porno-erotic film made in Qu\u00e9bec. (Photo Lois Siegel)

Denis Héroux, film director, producer (born 15 July 1940 in Montréal, Qc; died 10 December 2015 in Montréal). In 1962, while studying history at the Université de Montréal, he co-directed his first feature-length FILM, Seul ou avec d'autres. Hooked on cinema, he abandoned academic pursuits and made two full-length commercial films. However, he finally made a name for himself in 1968 with Valérie, the first porno-erotic film made in Québec. This work's major success testifies to his ability to seize the moment and deliver what the market seeks. After several erotic films, Héroux tried historical melodrama in Quelques arpents de neige (1972) and light comedy in J'ai mon voyage (1973) and Pousse mais pousse égal (1974). By then, the market had begun to fluctuate. After developing a taste for co-production thanks to a collaboration with Israel in 1972, he immersed himself in similar projects, rapidly becoming one of Canada's best-known producers working abroad. His career, which has definitely been rewarding economically although perhaps less so artistically, has nevertheless made him the leading Québec producer.

Héroux has carved out an enviable reputation, directing both numerous co-productions and working with celebrated directors such as Claude Chabrol, Violette Nozière (1977), Blood Relatives (1978) and The Blood of Others (1984); Claude Lelouch, A nous deux (1979); Claude Pinoteau, L'Homme en colère (1979); Louis Malle, Atlantic City (1980); Jean-Jacques Annaud, Quest for Fire (1981); and Alexandre Arcady, Hold-Up (1985).

Despite his dominant position in private industry and his commercial success, Héroux's views on the Québec film industry and on national cinema have set him at odds with his colleagues. He silenced criticism in part by producing Gilles CARLE's Les Plouffe (1981) and repeated this success with Le Crime d'Ovide Plouffe (Denys ARCAND, 1983) and Le Matou (Jean BEAUDIN, 1985). In the 1990s Héroux worked in the capacity of editor and as story editor for the series Les Aventures du Grand Nord/Tales of the Wild (1994), a French/Canadian co-production of six English-language telefilms, two of them by Gilles Carle, which are distinguished by being shot on location in the north or of being adapted from the work of James Oliver Curwood.

In Canada and abroad, his name has also been associated with the production of films, including Eddy and the Cruisers II (Jean-Claude Lord, 1989), Black Robe (Bruce Beresford, 1991) and Secret Society (Imogen Kimmel, 2000), and of works for French television, such as the series Counterstrike (1991-93) and La guerre de l'eau (Patrick Chaumeil, Marc F. Voizard, 1998). An accomplished director in his time and a first-rank producer associated with numerous companies throughout his career, he has worked mostly for television in recent years. Héroux has also been a film critic and was a member of the 1982 Applebaum-Hébert FEDERAL CULTURAL POLICY REVIEW COMMITTEE. His achievements were honoured with the Order of Canada in 1984.