Paule Baillargeon. Actor, screenwriter and director (Val-d'Or, 19 July 1945 - ). Long dedicated to the social and political movements, this feminist and sovereignist is first and foremost a highly creative individual known for her intense, generous personality. Paule Baillargeon has left her mark on Quebec theatre and cinema through her acting and comedic talents, her sensitivity, her natural beauty and her hearty laugh. As a movie maker, she has created daring films that have earned a number of well-deserved awards.
Originally from Abitibi, Paule Baillargeon attended boarding school run by Les Ursulines, moving on subsequently to Villa Maria and Sacré-Cœur, where she demonstrated outstanding skills in French composition. In Montréal, in 1966, she enrolled at the NATIONAL THEATRE SCHOOL OF CANADA, where she joined a group of students in refusing their diplomas three years later in protest of the institution's lack of openness to Quebec-based collective creation. In 1998, the school reinstated her and the others as alumni in recognition of their positive role in its development. In 1969, Ms. Baillargeon, along with Jocelyn Bérubé, Raymond Cloutier, Suzanne Garceau, Claude Laroche and Guy Thauvette, founded Le Grand Cirque Ordinaire, a radically innovative popular theatre focused on improvisation and collective creation that went on to mark its era with nearly a dozen different shows. Paule Baillargeon contributed to T'es pas tannée, Jeanne d'Arc (1969); La Famille transparente (1970); L'Opéra des pauvres (1973); Un prince, mon jour viendra (1974), a feminist play she co-authored with Suzanne Garceau and Luce Guilbeault; La Tragédie américaine de l'enfant prodigue (1975); and Avec Lorenzo à mes côtés (1983).
She was also fascinated by and drawn to the cinema during that time. In 1973, Paule Baillargeon appeared in the film Réjeanne Padovani by Denys ARCAND, who also offered her a role in Gina in 1975. That same year, she played in Le Temps de l'avant by Anne-Claire POIRIER. Ms. Baillargeon produced her first short film, Anastasie, oh! ma chérie, in 1977 and her first full-length feature, La Cuisine rouge, which she co-wrote and in which she co-starred with actress Frédérique Collin in 1979. Shot under difficult conditions and financed by donations from friends and a fund-raising event, this film exploring the social gap between men and women provoked violent and controversial reactions while also revealing the temperament of a director who made radical and meaningful esthetic choices. In 1986, her film Sonia on the topic of Alzheimer's disease earned a total of eight awards from various festivals throughout Canada, the United States and Italy. She was also awarded the prize for best Canadian film at the World Film Festival in 1993 for Le Sexe des étoiles, an adaptation of the novel by Monique Proulx, who also drafted the screenplay.
Paule Baillargeon has appeared in 30 or more films, including Entre tu et vous by Gilles GROULX (1969); Vie d'ange (1979), which she co-wrote and in which she co-starred with Pierre Harel; La Femme de l'hôtel by Léa POOL (1984); Le Chant des sirènes by Patricia ROZEMA (1987), for which she earned the PRIX GÉMEAUX for best actress in a supporting role; Denys Arcand's Jésus de Montréal (1988) and Le Secret de ma mère by Ghyslaine Côté (2006), not to mention La Dame en couleurs by Claude JUTRA (1984), a film maker to whom she dedicated a moving documentary, Claude Jutra, portrait sur film, in 2002. Ms. Baillargeon shot another documentary, Le Petit Jean-Pierre, le grand Perrault, on the celebrated Quebec choreographer Jean-Pierre Perrault in 2004.
Paule Baillargeon has returned to the stage from time to time, including at the THÉÂTRE DU NOUVEAU MONDE in Victor ou les Enfants au pouvoir (1980); at the Compagnie Jean-Duceppe in Oublier by Marie LABERGE (1987), a work currently being adapted for television; and in Filles de guerre lasse by Dominick Parenteau-Lebeuf, an author who gave Ms. Baillargeon her first opportunity as director in 2004, with Portrait d'une imposteure, a co-production of the Théâtre Français de Toronto and the NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE. She also took part in productions of Tout comme elle (2006) and Douleur exquise (2009), both by Brigitte Haentjens. On television, she earned a Prix Gémeaux for best actress in the drama or comedy category for the role of Laurette in Les Voisins de Meunier et Saia in 1986 and played Maggie in Victor-Lévy BEAULIEU's L'Héritage from 1987 to 1990.