SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
It is with sadness that I have learned of the death of Montreal cinema and film giant, Gilles Carle. He passed away early this morning at the age of 80. My most heart felt condolences to Chloe Sainte-Marie, his loyal companion of more than 20 years.
Award winning Quebec film maker Gilles Carle dies at 80.
(CP) – 6 hours ago
MONTREAL — One of Quebec’s greatest filmmakers whose celebrated works won international praise, died early Saturday. Gilles Carle was 80.
He battled Parkinson’s disease for a number of years and was recently hospitalized following a heart attack and complications from pneumonia.
“His style and inspiration place Gilles Carle among the pioneers who have given Quebec and Canadian cinema its national and international dimension and luminous modernity,”Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean said in a statement issued Saturday.
A statement from Quebec Premier Jean Charest lamented the death of a man who profoundly influenced Quebec culture.
“Gilles Carle was among the most important filmmakers in Quebec, a man of immense talent and who has been recognized internationally,” Charest said.
Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois also sent her condolences to Carle’s family Saturday and hailed him as an independent thinker who was unbending in his cinematic vision.
“He was more than a filmmaker,” she said. “He unconditionally loved the seventh art.”
Carle gave his life to cinema. The prolific director is known for works like La vraie nature de Bernadette (The Real Bernadette), Maria Chapdelaine, Les Plouffes (The Plouffes) and Pudding Chomeur (Bread Pudding).
Born in Maniwaki, Que., he grew up in Abitibi and later moved to Montreal in the 1940s to study drawing. But he fell in love with film.
Carle’s passion for cinema spawned a decades-long career that produced some 30 works, running the gamut from fiction to documentary and television specials.
The themes of his films often touched on sexuality and the trials of everyday people. In 1961, he began working at the National Film Board of Canada and co-directed, with Louis Portugais, his first film, Manger (Eat).
With some 25 Genies and other Canadian prizes to his name, he is one of the most awarded filmmakers in Canadian history.
In 1990, he won the Palme d’Or for the short film, 50 ans (50 Years). He was awarded the Governor General Award in 1997 and the Order of Canada in 1999. Quebec honoured Carle’s contribution to cinema in 1990 with the Albert-Tessier Award for culture and he was made a Grand Officer in the National Order of Quebec in 2007.
But his disease began taking a serious toll on his health in later years.
His last film, Mona McGill et son vieux pere malade, (Mona McGill and her Ailing Father) touched on sickness, aging and death.
Quebec actor Micheline Lanctot remembers Carle as a formidable artist with an extravagant imagination.
“He had a profoundly original spirit,” she said. But his disease left him mute and confined to a wheelchair. “It was difficult seeing him in that state,” said Lanctot.
“When you knew him with his verve and his vigour and his effervescence, it was difficult to see him confined like that.”
No date has been set for his funeral.
Copyright © 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
LAST WEEK I WROTE A SHORT BLOG ARTICLE ON GILLES, WHICH I REPRODUCE HERE, IN CASE ANY OF MY READERS MISSED IT:
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The readers might know of Gilles Carle, Quebec’s most successful film director. This past summer (July 31) Gilles turned 80 years old. During his brilliant career, which saw him write, produce and direct dozens of successful films , documentaries and TV series, Gilles has won dozens of international awards for his work, and has been honoured with the Order of Canada and the National Order of Quebec.
Among many of Gilles’ passions is the game of chess. An avid coffee house player, Gilles Carle also (co)-directed the award winning documentary ”The Great Chess Movie” (1982), a National Film Board of Canada production. I had the privilege of attending the world premier of this documentary. I even appear in the film for about 3 seconds!
”In this Gilles Carle feature documentary on the game of chess, the international chess match is cast as a classic Western shoot-out. Three chess greats dominate the film: Russia’s Anatoly Karpov; Viktor Korchnoi, a Russian defector; and American Bobby Fischer. Chess aficionados Camille Coudari and Fernando Arrabal analyze the personalities and strategies of the players and comment on the interplay of politics and chess.”
The film was produced for a few hundred thousand dollars and, being made at the height of the cold war, it is only natural that the film played heavily on political symbolism and paranoid stereotypes. Today it might seem a bit odd that a chess documentary would have images of nuclear missles being paraded in Red Square (Moscow) , but in those days the world was a very different place from today!
Overall, however, it is one of the very best chess films/documentaries that has ever been produced. There are interviews with Fischer, Karpov, Korchnoi and others. A reasonably objective film review ”Thoughts on THE GREAT CHESS MOVIE” can be found at:
And the New York Times did a critical review that can be found at:
Gilles Carle was also very helpful to me after I first became internationally known and had qualified for the Candidate’s Tournament in the summer of 1985. He took a personal interest in my chess progress, and arranged the very first sponsorship that I had ever received in Montreal! Up to that time I was pretty much ignored in Montreal chess circles.
Then again in the spring of 1987, immediately following the death of John Prentice, when the FQE, Peter Stockhausen and the CFC hawks in Ottawa tried to personally profit from his death, it was Gilles Carle that once again played a key role and helped me fight back: at one point it was his personal threat to bring the developing scandal to national attention by calling a press conference that put an end to much of the abuse that was being heaped on me.
This was the closest time that I had ever been to actually taking the CFC and its corrupt leadership to court. Fortunately, this was not necessary when the CFC governors wisely threw the entire circus out at the summer AGM. It would be another 15 years before Peter Stockhausen dared again run for the CFC Presidency.
And finally, in 1988 Gilles agreed to become President of the Kevin Spragget Foundation for chess.
For the past 15 years Gilles has been suffering from Parkinson’s disease , a degenerative disorder that attacks the central nervous system and can impair speech, motor skills and other functions. In Gilles’ case, he lost his speech first. In the years since, his health and mobility has been steadily declining. Gilles has been very fortunate to have such a strong-willed wife by his side during this difficult period.
Through it all, Chloe, Gilles’ life-partner, has always been at Gilles’ side. He fights for her, and she for him.
Not wanting to be put into an institution, and prefering to be treated at home, Gilles has spent most of his wealth. Several years ago, Chloe had the brilliant idea of helping pay for Gilles’ growing medical bills by opening up a sort of nursing home for similarly impaired people.
But this required a huge fundraising campaign on Chloe’s part, but eventually she raised more than 125,000 to do the necessary repairs and conversion of their home.
By pure force of character, Chloe hit the fundraising trail
This past week the Maison Gilles Carle officially opened its doors! Readers can visit the official website here: http://www.maisongillescarle.org/#/accueil
The Montreal media , always a big fan and admirer of the artistic couple, enthusiastically reported on the event. Unfortunately, Gilles Carle was not able to attend this ceremony, as for the past 3 weeks his health had deteriorated so much that he has been in intensive care at a local hospital. The prognosis is not good.
Here is one such media report:
Deux ans après son apparition, sous la forme d’une simple idée née « dans un moment d’extrême fatigue », la maison rêvée par Chloé Sainte-Marie a enfin vu le jour.
La Maison Gilles Carle a ouvert ses portes mardi et accueillera quatre personnes en perte d’autonomie, auxquelles devrait se joindre Gilles Carle, le mari de la chanteuse, hospitalisé depuis trois semaines à la suite d’un infarctus et d’une pneumonie.
Chloé Sainte-Marie, qui, depuis 15 ans, prend soin de son mari diminué par la maladie de Parkinson, s’est faite depuis des années le porte-flambeau des aidants naturels.
La Maison Gilles Carle, aménagée à même la résidence du couple à Saint-Paul-d’Abbotsford, en Montérégie, est pour elle une solution aux difficultés que rencontrent ces derniers.
« C’est un grand moment de libération, après ces années à faire des levées de fonds pour pouvoir payer ses soins, pour qu’il reste à la maison. L’idée, née il y a deux ans, dans une extrême fatigue, est de financer ces soins en prenant d’autres personnes malades. Je pense que c’est une des solutions, car personne ne veut être placé en institution quand il a le choix », explique-t-elle.
C’est, de fait, une expérience de mise en commun, car les cinq pensionnaires se partagent également les dépenses, que ce soit le salaire des préposés, de la cuisinière, sur le modèle de ce qui existe déjà en Italie et en Suède.
La nouvelle résidence va au-delà des soins et des activités traditionnels. « Il n’y aura pas de bingos ici. Il va plutôt y avoir des lectures, de la musique, du piano. Je crois beaucoup en la thérapie par la beauté et la musique », explique Mme Sainte-Marie.
Chloe Sainte-Marie is a well known Quebec singer with a number of successful albums recorded
Chloé Sainte-Marie croit pouvoir bénéficier d’une certaine aide de l’État pour assurer les activités de la Maison Gilles Carle. Elle dit avoir rencontré la ministre responsable des Aînés, Marguerite Blais, qui prévoirait prendre en charge le déficit anticipé de 60 000 $ sur trois ans, par l’entremise du nouveau Fonds québécois de soutien aux proches aidants.
C’est bien peu, précise-t-elle, quand on compare aux 80 000 $ qu’il en coûte annuellement pour aider une personne malade. D’ici là, l’artiste ne compte que sur les dons.
La chanteuse espère maintenant que son mari se rétablira suffisamment pour revenir à la maison.
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS