Images: © 1975, Serge Giguère et Les Films d’aventures sociales du Québec

Not forgetting

Modifié le : 2019/08/06

Yes­ter­day, on New Year’s Day, my sis­ter France gave me an elec­tron­ic copy of the doc­u­men­taries made by my uncle Serge Giguère. Serge had passed on these films to his broth­ers and sis­ters and, in keep­ing with mod­ernism, my sis­ter trans­posed them so that our moth­er could watch them in her liv­ing room or on her computer.

I don’t know if these films are avail­able any­where. They are pre­cious to me, not only because they are my fam­i­ly, but because Serge has a neu­tral and yet ten­der view of peo­ple. He is an excel­lent doc­u­men­tary film­mak­er who was award­ed the Gov­er­nor Gen­er­al’s Award in Visu­al and Media Arts in 2008.

We see some images of my mater­nal great-grand­fa­ther (whom I did not know) who recounts the harsh­ness of his work. In the first film, we see main­ly scenes from 1975, among the Giguère fam­i­ly, the year my grand­moth­er died. A sec­ond film, À mai­son, takes up the images of the first film in which, fol­low­ing Antoinet­te’s death, Hec­tor breaks up the house (I’m not sure, my moth­er will con­firm). Final­ly, L’Homme qui chan­tait sua job, a doc­u­men­tary cen­tered on my uncle Bruno, a west­ern singer. The three films form a continuity.

The images of my grand­par­ents are cer­tain­ly the most touch­ing for me. To see the dynamism of this woman who will have car­ried and deliv­ered six­teen chil­dren (twelve exist­ing ones) and who, until the end, will have giv­en to all. To see my grand­fa­ther mourn his wife, who is now absent from the walls of their emp­ty house. To hear this man talk about his hard work too. He did fifty-six jobs, worked in the for­est (he became stiff like a horse), was a bar­ber, a fac­to­ry work­er. To see me, too, at 14 years old, wear­ing the mus­tache, secret­ly in love with my cousin (he nev­er knew that!). I have so few real mem­o­ries of my child­hood, I tend to for­get so quickly.

Reliv­ing these moments forces me to retake root, not to protest, but to fol­low the cur­rent. To see them all again at this time, to know now where they stand, is the tac­it les­son of the val­ue of time. Hear­ing my grand­fa­ther say that life, when you have the plea­sure, is a beau­ti­ful hob­by. All this brings a smile and nos­tal­gia. All this is alive.