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Reason Over Passion

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Director: Joyce Wieland
1969 / 80min / 16mm

Filmed shortly after the election of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, at a moment when the Quebecois secessionist movement had exploded into open violence, Wieland’s experimental travelogue—which, tongue-in-cheek, borrows its title from Trudeau’s (im)personal political motto—passionately addresses contemporary Canadian culture, an innovative work using then-cutting-edge technology that draws inspiration from ages-old folk and craft traditions. (Before making the film, multi-hyphenate Wieland produced several quilts bearing the same name.) Through computer-generated titles, Wieland playfully scrambles and re-scrambles the letters of Trudeau’s catchphrase alongside degraded images of a more or less sequential cross-country trip on the Trans-Canada Highway. A stinging send-up of nationalist pretensions, and a filmmaker’s love letter to her home country. “A neglected landmark of avant-garde film.”—Fred Camper, The Chicago Reader

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