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Loïc Darses’ Graver l’homme: arrêt sur Pierre Hébert (NFB) screening at Cinémathèque québécoise starting May 12


April 29, 2024 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The feature-length documentary Graver l’homme: arrêt sur Pierre Hébert (Scratches of Life: The Art of Pierre Hébert), directed by Loïc Darses, will open on Sunday, May 12, at the Cinémathèque québécoise in Montreal, following its world premiere as the closing film of the Sommets du cinéma d’animation. The director will be in attendance at select screenings. At the request of the NFB’s French Animation Unit, Darses, who received acclaim for his earlier films Where the Land Ends and A Woman and Her Car, met with filmmaker, performer and visual artist Pierre Hébert. In a career spanning nearly 60 years, 35 of which were spent at the NFB, this outstanding animator has made more than 40 films, despite not being widely known to the public. Hébert is also the recipient of this year’s René Jodoin Award at the Sommets festival, taking place May 6 to 11, recognizing his exemplary work in the animation genre.

Made in the spirit of continuity and passing the baton, both distinctive features of Darses’ work, Scratches of Life: The Art of Pierre Hébert is the product of an authentically human encounter between two filmmakers of different generations with unique and striking aesthetics. Darses combines a personal touch and some inspired editing to capture the epic sweep of the humble technique that is scratch-on-film animation.

About the film

Graver l’homme: arrêt sur Pierre Hébert (Scratches of Life: The Art of Pierre Hébert) by Loïc Darses (75 min)
Produced by Marc Bertrand for the NFB
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/scratchesoflife

Employing an arresting black-and-white palette punctuated with animated flourishes, Scratches of Life: The Art of Pierre Hébert unwinds the thread of the scratch-on-film technique, guiding us through the inspiring labyrinth of the celebrated animator’s life and work. Loïc Darses captures the imprint of an extraordinary artist who continues to create to this day, striving to share his vision of new forms of life.

About the filmmaker

Loïc Darses is a Quebec writer-director. His films include the award-winning shorts A Woman and Her Car (2015; selected for the Sundance and Rotterdam film festivals, among others) and F*ckin’ Coffin (2021). He made the striking Where the Land Ends (2019), his first documentary feature, at the NFB, where he has just completed Scratches of Life: The Art of Pierre Hébert (2024), a tribute to the work of this tireless animation pioneer.

About Pierre Hébert

Pierre Hébert has directed more than 40 films, including three features—one of which, La Plante humaine (1996), was made at the NFB, where he worked from 1965 to 2000. His works have been screened at prestigious festivals worldwide. A decisive step in his career occurred in 1962, when he met Norman McLaren, who encouraged him to keep on experimenting with the scratch-on-film technique, which has remained central to his work to this day. Still an active and vital force in the filmmaking community, Hébert has expanded his art into multidisciplinary explorations over the years, including “live cinema” performances with musicians, video installations, collaborations with choreographers, drawings and web-based projects. He has published several books on cinema as well as two books of drawings. Places and Monuments, a series of films and video installations that blends animation and documentary, earned him a prestigious career grant from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec in 2012. In 2004, he was awarded the Prix Albert Tessier, the Quebec government award for lifetime achievement in cinema, and in 2018 he received an honorary doctorate from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver. In 2022, he became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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French version here | Version française ici.

Media Relations

  • Nadine Viau
    NFB Publicist – Montreal
    C.: 514-458-9745

  • Lily Robert
    Director, Communications and Public Affairs, NFB
    C.: 514-296-8261

  • About the NFB

    Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a one-of-a-kind producer, co-producer and distributor of distinctive, engaging, relevant and innovative documentary and animated films. As a talent incubator, it is one of the world’s leading creative centres. The NFB has enabled Canadians to tell and hear each other’s stories for over eight decades, and its films are a reliable and accessible educational resource. The NFB is also recognized around the world for its expertise in preservation and conservation, and for its rich and vibrant collection of works, which form a pillar of Canada’s cultural heritage. To date, the NFB has produced more than 14,000 works, 6,500 of which can be streamed free of charge at nfb.ca. The NFB and its productions and co-productions have earned over 7,000 awards, including 11 Oscars and an Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.