Michel Brault and Pierre Perrault’s L’Acadie, l’Acadie?!? chronicles the struggle of Francophone university students involved in a series of protests in Moncton, New Brunswick. The film denounces the anglophone majority’s unwillingness to recognize linguistic rights for the Acadians, and its political power is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that National Film Board commissioner Sydney Newman ordered that forty-five minutes be cut from the original for a CBC broadcast in English. Brault always opposed this censorship, rightly arguing that the free circulation of ideas, no matter how “radical,” is the only way to create a constructive dialogue among Canada’s various communities.
In addition to engaging in the eternal Canadian debate over linguistic issues, L’Acadie,l’Acadie?!? documents the emergence of a transnational student movement. From New Brunswick to Paris to Berkeley in the late sixties, university students rose up against the oppressive regimes of their elders. As French critic Henri Chapier noted immediately after the film’s premiere in 1971, “L’Acadie is the first film in world cinema to deal with the international uprising of youth, without compromise and without clichés.”
Born in Montreal, Québec, Pierre Perrault went to law school before turning is attention to the cinema. Concerned more by real life then fiction, he makes movies in the ‘cinéma direct’ style. He filmed real people in real life situations listening to what they have to say and looking at how they do things. He is also a poet and a writer.