Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathWieland

icon: previous page

between racism and sexism. Subtitles translating Vallières’ Joual-tinged French into English are superimposed onto the image, pointing out the shortcomings and displacements of this means of making the unfamiliar familiar. Until the end of the last roll of film, which continues for some minutes after Vallières has finished speaking and pans over to the landscape visible out the window, the camera is exclusively focused on Vallières' lips and mouth in a tight close up. While the sensuous, viscerous quality of the mouth in these images is prominent, so too is its social significance: poor teeth suggest a childhood without privilege. [18] The manner in which lips, tongue and teeth interact to produce the language which is spoken on the film’s soundtrack and the presence of the ethnically-demarcated Québecois body behind that orifice are of course elements which are directly related to the experience of oppression narrated in the film's voiceover. Yet, through the radically reductive framing of the image, the relationship between these individual elements is denaturalized, poised on the verge of ridicule. The unusual proximity of the speaking subject of the film to the camera does


not suggest an unbroken line connecting the body to the rhetoric that it produces, or to the undisturbed reception of that rhetoric by the viewer. Measured against the talking head aesthetic of conventional political documentary, Wieland’s unusual framing of her subject offers too great a proximity to the ‘source’ of the film’s content. The effect is disconcerting and has often been said to weaken the power of Vallières' words. [19] Further, the temporal structure of the film is defined by that of a roll of 16mm film stock, cutting Vallières off in the second reel and continuing after he has finished speaking in the third, privileging a representation of the constraints of 16mm filmmaking over the performance of the speaker. Thus once more a conflict is introduced between the film's aesthetic and its overtly political content, between signifier and signified.

»The Far Shore» and beyond

Much work must still to be done to begin to address the rich idiosyncrasy and passion of Wieland's oeuvre. In closing I would like to draw attention to a pivotal moment in Wieland's work, a key scene in «The Far Shore.»

icon: next page