Crosscurrents: How film policy developed in Quebec 1960–1983
by Constance Dilley
Presses de l’Université de Québec, 320 pages, $39
The route to a feature film’s success is long, and in 1960s Quebec the industry as a whole was struggling to survive. Constance Dilley’s book Crosscurrents tracks the growth of the film industry in Quebec and the fight to pass Bill 109, a law to create a viable movie industry in the province.
The legislation was met with direct opposition from the major American film companies, which even threatened a boycott. As Dilley puts it, “policy had never been so exciting.”
While the author approaches the subject from an academic perspective, she uses archival resources and direct testimonials to craft a picture of an industry that has been continually in flux. Dilley has been a member of the film industry since the 1970s, and her various roles with film magazines and associations in Quebec allow her to incorporate anecdotes into this political history.
Framing the struggle for legislation around events like the moon landings and battles over Quebec separatism, Dilley tells the stories of people who called themselves the “coureurs des bois” of Quebec cinema. With her story of culture and politics, Quebec filmmaking is firmly embedded in the history of the province.