MacPherson wins twice at Montreal World Film Fest

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MacPher­son,” an ani­mated tale of friend­ship between a white man and a black man in Que­bec, was named both the best short film and best Cana­dian short at the Mon­treal World Film Festival.

Brim­ming with exu­ber­ant, col­or­ful images, this 11-minute film was directed by Mar­tine Char­trand of the National Film Board of Canada.

In Que­bec dur­ing the early 1930s, young poet Félix Leclerc befriended Frank Ran­dolph Macpher­son, a Jamaican chem­i­cal engi­neer and uni­ver­sity grad­u­ate who worked for a pulp and paper com­pany. An invet­er­ate jazz fan, Macpher­son inspired Leclerc, who wrote a song about the log dri­ves and enti­tled it “MacPher­son” in honor of his friend.

In the heart of a win­try nation, a white man and a black man bask in the warmth of a friend­ship buoyed by melodies of jazz, tra­di­tional Que­bec folk tunes, Jamaican mento and a Schu­bert sonata. The mag­i­cal hands of Char­trand, direc­tor of Black Soul, cre­ated an ani­mated film that bursts with a pul­sat­ing hybrid of poetry and music, employ­ing painted glass frames shot with a 35mm cam­era. Some­where between doc­u­men­tary and fic­tion, MacPher­son, based on Leclerc’s famous song, depicts turn­ing points in his­tory and, with great sen­si­tiv­ity and lav­ish imagery, evokes the deep feel­ings shared by the Jamaican engi­neer and one of Leclerc’s sisters.

Orig­i­nal music was pro­vided by Jean-François Dumas, Luzio Alto­belli and Dominic Desrochers. Erik Shoup was the pianist.

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