QuÃ©bec Studies, No. 9, 1989/90
AN INTERVIEW WITH LEA POOL
by Aaron Bor
LÃ©a Pool was born in Geneva, Switzerland and lived there until 1975 when
she arrived in Quebec. Although not formally trained in the art of filmmaking, she
has directed and written three major Quebec films in the past few years. Her first
two films, La Femme de l'hÃ´tel (1984) and Anne Trister (1986) have both received
international acclaim. And her most recent film, A corps perdu ( 1988) is equal in
quality and is sure to receive similar accolades. Ms. Pool injects a certain kind of
sensitivity into her films which is unequalled in other recent Quebec filmmaking.
This interview was conducted at the New Quebec Film Festival in Santa
Monica, California on November 11, 1988.
Aaron Bor Did you ever formally study film?
LÃ©a Pool No. Before making films I taught children who had difficulty stuÂ
dying. The students weren't really interested in traditional learning activities so I
wanted to learn how to introduce video and film in the schools to make it more
interesting for them. I knew they offered courses in Communication Arts in
Montreal but I never thought of actually producing films myself. So, after four
years of teaching in Switzerland, I moved to Montreal where I began taking
courses at the University of Quebec. I became very interested in film and actually
made a few three or four minute short films. My instructor was George Dufaux, a
Quebec photographer and documentary filmmaker who encouraged me and gave
me the opportunity to make more films.
What was your first film?
In my last year at the university, I made a twenty minute documenÂ
tary film with two other students. The idea came from Der Letzte Man, a German
film by Murnau. From that film, I had the idea to make a documentary about a
doorman and how he stands between two worlds, the world of the hotel and the
people, and his life with his wife in a small apartment. The film was shown at a
few festivals and allowed me to receive a grant from the Art Council of Canada to
make Strass CafÃ©, which was my first feature film. Strass CafÃ© was sixty-three
minutes long and was produced with six thousand dollars, so I had to do everyÂ
thing. I directed and edited the film, wrote the script, and was the voice-over
Does Strass CafÃ© employ some of the same themes as your other films ?
I think there is a continuity in all my films. Strass CafÃ© is a very slow
paced experimental film shot in black and white. It's the story of a man and a