Michel Brault (1928-2013)

1996 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Film)

The first objective… "to show life as it is". Arriving on the scene in the mid-fifties when all was ripening for change, Brault was among the pioneers of cinéma vérité techniques.

He joined the National Film Board in 1956, one of the new young wave of French filmmakers. At the Board, and as an independent, he deployed his brilliant skills as cameraman, director and producer. His deep intuitive understanding of new technology produced a vast array of renowned documentaries. Then, he says "the day dawned" when he realized documentaries were not always "absolutely truthful".

His interest shifted to fiction, which "doesn't pretend to be the truth and therefore is not a lie." What followed was a number of features, of which the most powerful was Les Ordres, his 1974 hard-hitting "documentary fiction" of the events of the October Crisis. Besides his own films, his award-winning work as Director of Photography on such films as Jutra's classic Mon Oncle Antoine has illuminated Canadian cinema in a way no other artist has achieved.
He remains fascinated by progress, already exploring what he sees as the technical future of filmmaking: digital video. Whatever the format, all of his work is carried out within a strong moral and ethical framework.