Selected Film

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 Eeyou (Bay James Cree) 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 fueled 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 than 250 of her canvases and sculptures.

Duration: 01:15:38
Country of Origin: Canada
Language: French

Director(s): Claude Hamel

Writer(s): Claude Hamel

Producer(s): Claude Hamel

Key Cast: Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau

Other Credits: