Denys Arcand

Director, Scriptwriter
Deschambault , QC
Quebec CA
Lives in
Montreal , QC
Quebec CA

Director, scriptwriter. U. de M.-trained, Oscar-winning heterosexual Arcand is Quebec’s most famous director. As a critic and documentarist early in the 1960s, he displayed the phobias (xeno-, eroto-, homo-) of his educational cohort, among other things queerbaiting his fellow filmmaker Claude Jutra, ten years his senior. Two decades later, Le Déclin de l’empire américain (Decline of the American Empire, 1986) finally put Arcand on the international map. Although most gays found the gay character Claude (Yves Jacques) fairly laughable in the main (an art historian who prowls the Mountain, pisses blood, comforts women, likes rough trade, and is a superb cook), few denied certain redeeming characteristics, especially retroactively when the same character turned up defanged in Arcand’s <em>Invasions barbares</em> (2003). In 1989 Arcand’s Jésus de Montréal queered Jacques again in the supporting role of the (literally) devilish media lawyer. In 1993, Arcand directed his queerest film, Love and Human Remains (100), an adaptation of Brad Fraser’s 1989 play. In this first English-language film, Arcand underwhelmed with his apprehension of Fraser’s angst-ridden urban landscape haunted by serial killers and AIDS. Arcand was apparently oblivious to those “other countries” of English Canada and homosexuality: the yuppie specificity of Fraser’s unnamed prairie city and his insider tenderness for his queer characters were lost in translation.