Denys Arcand

1995 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Film)

It was Canada's good fortune that Denys Arcand, thwarted in his ambition to be a great tennis player, turned to film. Educated as an historian, he has brought the artist's poetic eye and sensibility to his work. Starting with documentaries at the National Film Board, his films have always taken a strong approach to social issues while retaining the historian's cool objectivity.

He has demonstrated it is possible to create films with universal appeal nourished by our own experience. In 1986 his Le Déclin de l'empire américain won world recognition including Cannes' International Film Critics' Award, nine Genies and an Oscar nomination. Jésus de Montréal won a further twenty awards including another Oscar nomination, twelve Genies, and Cannes' Jury and Oecumenical Awards given to films with strong humanist values. With this success, opportunities to work elsewhere have beckoned, but his sense of balance draws him back to the milieu that until now has suited him best: that of family, friends and his favourite pastime, sports.

He made his first feature film in English, Love and Human Remains, in 1993, and is currently working on a new script on the theme of Beauty. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

An Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France, this year he chaired the Cannes Film Festival jury, the first Canadian to be so honoured.