Canada | Eastern North America

The Creation of Birds, 1972

In his third film, Frédéric Back merges an Algonquin and a Mi’kmaq legend on the same subject: the cycle of the seasons. The Mi’kmaq version was the more suggestive, with its character Howling Wolf, who Frédéric incorporated into his film. (The Mi’kmaq are a First Nation who lived in present-day Acadia.)

In the film, the beautiful days of summer come to a sudden end before Howling Wolf, the terrible wind of the cold. Howling Wolf strips the trees of their beautiful coloured leaves, chasing the children into the forest. He then aligns with White Bear, the snow, to flush the children out from under the pine trees. Tired of the cold, a little girl sends a prayer to Glooscap, the great Manitou. Glooscap orders the Sun to chase Howling Wolf and White Bear away. Then he blows life back into the dead leaves, transforming them into colourful songbirds. Since that time, the miracle happens again each spring, as the birds return to the trees where they were born.

To read the legend from Légendes indiennes du Canada by Claude Mélançon, click here
For more info about the film, click here

[peinture #68018]
Image from the film The Creation of Birds.
Canada, Quebec
Film illustration, felt pen and collage, on frosted cell
Credit: Frédéric Back and Radio-Canada
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