British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Haunted Terroir: Memory, Language, Landscape and Identity in Francis Leclerc's Mémoires affectives

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2009), 22, (2), 215–234.

Abstract

This article looks at the manner in which a recent Québécois film – Francis Leclerc's Mémoires affectives (2004) – uses avant-garde formal and narratives devices to unsettle the memory-terroir-language-masculinity equation upon which traditional Québécois nationalist identity narratives rest. In so doing, it renders the Québécois terroir 'unhomely' by revealing it to be at once haunted by traumatic and fragmented memories of colonial and gendered violence and simultaneously 'home' to the languages, memories and histories of the myriad 'Others' whose presence is conveniently forgotten and/or repressed by the linear and univocal nationalist narrative. In its experimentation with multiple temporalities and fragmented narrations, its promiscuous use of intertextuality and allusion and its constant indexing of the 'constructedness' of memory and identity, Mémoires affectives can be read as an attempt to provide a blueprint and a vocabulary for more plural, open and self-reflexive projects of identity construction in a postmodernised Quebec.

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Hodgins, Peter