“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.