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Music at the NFB: Portraits and documentaries

As part of Suoni Per Il Popolo

Kubota by Johnny Silver ⎮ 1982 ⎮ 20 min

A film featuring architect, sculptor, and musician Nobuo Kubota in a sound-sculpture performance. From within a cage-like structure filled with traditional musical instruments and sound-making devices fashioned from ordinary objects and toys, Kubota creates an aural/visual montage of musical notes and noises.

Harmonium in California by Robert Fortier ⎮ 1979 ⎮ 28 min

This short documentary follows Quebec band Harmonium as they tour California in the mid-’70s with then-Premier René Lévesque in an effort to promote the province as well as introduce the group to the world’s biggest music market.

The Socalled Movie by Garry Beitel ⎮ 2010 ⎮ 87 min 

This feature-length documentary is a dynamic kaleidoscopic portrait of Socalled (aka Josh Dolgin), a multi-disciplinary musician and artist whose unique blend of klezmer, hip hop and funk is blasting through the boundaries that separate music of different cultures, eras and generations.

Buffy by John Walker ⎮ 2010 ⎮ 6 min

Folk music icon Buffy Sainte-Marie became internationally renowned with her protest song “Universal Soldier.” In this short documentary, she candidly discusses her hopes, creative vision and songwriting skills, as well as her role as an Aboriginal activist. Still a vibrant artist fifty years into her career, she keeps her eyes set on the future.

Oscar by Marie-Josée St-Pierre ⎮ 2010 ⎮ 12 min 

Brilliantly mixing animated sequences and archival footage, Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre paints a touching portrait of virtuoso pianist Oscar Peterson. As with her previous films (McLaren’s Negative and Jutra), Saint-Pierre pursues her bold and personal approach with this animated documentary of Oscar Peterson at the twilight of an exceptional career.

Pauline Julien, Intimate and Political by Pascal Julien⎮ 2018 ⎮ 77 min

With a meticulous selection of interviews, performances and photos drawn from a vast and rich archival collection, Pauline Julien, Intimate and Political follows the iconic Quebec singer and eternally free spirit on a journey through key moments in the province’s history.