Upon entering Michel Brault’s upstairs offices in his country home near Montréal, the first impression is not so much of one of Québec’s most significant and prolific cineasts, but rather, that one has entered the lair of a photographer. Personal and often lyrical photographs crowd the walls. Contact sheets and negatives are in tall piles on the desks and counters. The book shelves are filled with classics by famous artists such as Edward Steichen and lesser known workers such as Nell Dorr. Photography magazines are in stacks everywhere. The trash bin holds a newly discarded Polaroid box. There is a tungsten flood on a stand, a deluxe press-release folder from Pour la suite du monde’s trip to Cannes (from 1964) and a well-worn director’s chair with Michel Brault printed on the back, but a visitor would be hard-pressed to find more evidence of film-making than still-photography.
Monsieur Brault opened himself up to my colleagues Garrick Filewod (moving image cameras), Howard Huxham (sound and logistics) and my self, Rob Allen (director, interviewer, stills photographer) for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon in late November 2011. I am still polishing and mounting the many gems he gave to us regarding his thoughts and life as a photographer, cinematographer, writer and director. The sound on this video was improved greatly by the very able and generous Ben Goloff; twice.