References to painters

"People often talk about the artistic influences in my drawings—Chagall, Monet, Renoir. I don't deny these influences: on the contrary, I consciously use these familiar references to convey my message quickly to the audience. When you hear a piece of music for the first time, it surprises you, perhaps enchants you or even puts you off. When you hear it again, the effect is very different. It's more familiar and evokes more interesting reactions. The more you listen to it, the more it affects you. The allusions I try to evoke in my films are my way of reaching out to viewers so that they feel on familiar ground and are more receptive to the ideas contained in the images. And so you have references to the Altamira and Lascaux cave paintings in All Nothing. Or to the Impressionists in The Man Who Planted Trees. Impressionism is a vibrant form of pictorial expression that is appropriate to the theme of the countryside as well as being very familiar to most audience members.

[Document: D_1707]

[Illustration] Drawing from the film The Man Who Planted Trees.
Credit: Radio-Canada and Frédéric Back, 1987

"The subject matter of The Man Who Planted Trees, and even more so for The Mighty River, demanded a certain realism in the drawing style if I was to provide convincing, credible information and make people forget that it was just an animated film. In the past, I had built many film sets, with model cities, forts and landscapes that had to look real. Also, because of the speed with which I had to work and the innumerable drawings I had to do, I've tended toward a more realistic style. To create an interesting depiction of nature, you need time to do research. I especially regretted my lack of time when it came to the river—a subject that was particularly difficult to illustrate and develop."

[Document: P_1737]

[Photo] Frédéric Back working on a huge drawing for the film The Mighty River.