Festival PREMIERE

DOCUMENTARY | CANADA | 76 MINUTES | French

Blue Bear Woman

This feature-length documentary is based on the work of Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau, an incredibly talented native author, painter, poet, sculptor and storyteller.

Virginia is a québécois artist of mixed parentage whose mother was from the Cri nation. She is the recipient of the Médaille de l’Assemblée Nationale of Quebec and has received considerable recognition in the artistic world. However, my film aims to make the artist better known to the general public by juxtaposing her writings with her painting and sculpture. The film counterbalances the lack of importance accorded to women artists and, in general, to women who are past their so-called prime, a period when they are longer biologically fertile, yet remain fertile with the expression of great beauty and strength.

Blue bear Woman is both a difficult and a gentle film: difficult in the cruelty of the facts it relates, gentle in the luminous beauty of the artist’s work it presents. I didn’t set out intending to make my first documentary, Ishkueu Territory Woman Territory, which took me by surprise, but already foreshadowed this second film. The first film gave a voice to eight women of words.

In this second film, Virginia relates the story of her conception by a she-bear whose spirit would remain with her for the rest of her life as the genesis of her totem, the Blue Bear. Half virgin, half sensual animal, Blue Bear symbolizes the two cultures Virginia bears and explores in the written word, expressing the world’s beauty and its violence. Through her dazzling canvases that transcend pain and anguish and paradoxically, burst with joie de vivre, Virginia, the little girl from the bridge, explores the duality that inhabits us all as we cross from one shore to the next and return to our origins. We walk beside her, our heads illuminated, our hearts heavy but lightening with each step towards acceptance of what is, what has shaped us and what will be.

Virginia is Quebec itself, the very essence of our reconciliation with ourselves, the blending of cultures that shape us, a métissage synonymous with the very territory we inhabit. This is a film about the beauty of an artistic life, the infinite beauty of Abitibi, Virginia’s homeland, which is also my homeland. A documentary that emerges from the hollow of my hands, opening with an offering to celebrate the solidarity of sisterhood. Blue bear Woman highlights the extraordinary talent of a mature woman fuelled by a love of art and the discovery of sensual pleasure in its immense simplicity.
A documentary consisting solely of excerpts of her books read by very well renown native artists, illuminated by more then 250 of her canvases and sculptures.

CAST & CREDITS

Directed by Claude Hamel

Director

Claude Hamel

Producer

Claude Hamel

Screenwriter

Claude Hamel

Key Cast

Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau

Director Statement

Blue Bear woman, half-virgin, half-sensual bear, symbolizes the two cultures that Virginia carries and explores. In writing, expressing the beauty of the world and its violence. And by the dazzling beauty of his paintings transcending tragic aspects of life, or bursting with joys of living. Surveying the duality that inhabits us all, Virginia, the little girl of the bridge, transports us on multiple round trips from one bank to the other. We walk by her side, our heads shrouded in light, our hearts becoming lighter with each step towards the acceptance of what is, of what has shaped us, of what will be. Virginia is Quebec, the very essence of reconciliation, with ourselves, with this métissage which is in itself synonymous with territory.

A documentary consisting solely of excerpts of her books illuminated by her canvases and sculptures.

Ébahie, émerveillée par les talents d’autrice, de peintre, de sculptrice, de conteuse de Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau, une artiste québécoise, métisse, Crie de par sa mère, je lui consacre un documentaire. Un long métrage documentaire pour contrer le peu d’importance accordée aux femmes artistes, aux femmes en général lorsqu’elles ont passé l’âge de la prime jeunesse. Lorsqu’elles ne sont plus fécondes et pourtant fécondes de tant de beauté et de force, dans la force de l’âge.
Reconnue par le milieu artistique, récipiendaire de la Médaille de l’Assemblée nationale, méconnue du grand public, ce film a pour but de faire mieux connaître cette grande artiste. En juxtaposant ses écritures à ses toiles et sculptures.

Ourse bleue est un film dur et doux, dur dans la cruauté des faits relatés, doux par la beauté lumineuse de ses œuvres. Mon premier documentaire Territoire Ishkueu Territoire Femme, m’avait pris par surprise, mais annonçait déjà ce deuxième. Car ce premier documentaire où je donnais la parole à huit femmes de paroles, toutes autochtones, Virginia, avec le récit de sa conception auprès d’une ourse dont l’esprit restera présent tout au long de sa vie, nous racontait la genèse de la création de son totem, l’Ourse bleue.

L’Ourse bleue, mi-vierge, mi-ourse sensuelle, symbolise les deux cultures que Virginia porte et explore. Par l’écrit en exprimant la beauté du monde et sa violence. Et par la beauté fulgurante de ses toiles transcendant douleur et mal de vivre, ou éclatantes de joies de vivre. Arpentant la dualité qui nous habite toutes et tous, Virginia, la petite fille du pont, nous transporte.

Dans de multiples allers-retours d’une rive à l’autre, nous marchons à ses côtés la tête nimbée de lumière, le cœur lourd s’allégeant à chaque pas vers l’acceptation de ce qui est, de ce qui nous a façonnés.

Virginia c’est le Québec, l’essence même de cette réconciliation, avec nous-mêmes, avec ce métissage qui est en lui-même synonyme de territoire. C’est un film qui traite de la beauté. De la beauté d’une vie artistique assumée. De l’infinie beauté de l’Abitibi, sa patrie, ma patrie. Un documentaire qui s’envole vers vous du creux de mes mains s’ouvrant sur une offrande célébrant l’importance de la sororité, de la solidarité. Ourse bleue c’est une femme mure soulignant l’extraordinaire talent d’une femme mure, avec comme carburant l’amour de l’art et le plaisir sensuel de vous la faire découvrir dans toute son immense simplicité.

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Showtimes

March 1st – March 8th

Streaming Exclusively
on
Red Nation Television Network

Native Women in Film & Television In All Media is a program of Red Nation Celebration Institute

Native Women in Film and Television in All Media is located on the ancestral lands of native peoples.
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