Monique LeBlanc’s feature Plus haut que les flammes screening

From: National Film Board

Taking poetry to another dimension, the feature film Plus haut que les flammes (Higher Than Flames Will Go) by Acadian director Monique LeBlanc (NFB) is a moving and powerful cinematic adaptation of Louise Dupré’s acclaimed book of poetry Plus haut que les flammes. The film will finally be shown on the big screen, on September 19 in Quebec City, at the Festival de cinéma de la ville de Québec (FCVQ), in collaboration with the Maison de la littérature (it will also be streamed online), and on September 24 in Montreal, at the Festival international de littérature (FIL). LeBlanc will be in attendance for both screenings, and Dupré will also be joining a post-screening discussion in Quebec City. Part documentary and part art film, filmed in Auschwitz as well as locations in Canada, the U.S., Nicaragua and Ukraine, Plus haut que les flammes transposes to the screen the entire book of poetry, which won a Governor General’s Award in 2011, and is voiced by actress Violette Chauveau in the film.

The film had its world premiere this past March as part of the special online edition of the International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA), a pioneering initiative at the very start of the stay-at-home restrictions, in which the NFB partnered in an effort to ensure these works would be seen by audiences. The original French version of the film, Plus haut que les flammes, will also be featured during the virtual edition of ONF à la maison, on November 25. It will be followed by online discussion with the director as well as the film’s editor, Geoffrey Boulangé.

Quick facts

About the film

Plus haut que les flammes (Higher Than Flames Will Go) by Monique LeBlanc (104 min)

Produced by Christine Aubé at the NFB’s Canadian Francophonie Studio in Moncton

The poem, like the film, begins with the phrase “Ton poème a surgi de l’enfer” (Your poem rises up from hell). Shaken by a trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau, a woman, a grandmother, tries to continue to live and care for a child. Because beyond the worst horrors created by humanity, there is childhood, for and through which time marches on. There are also those who watch over these small beings, working each day to keep them alive, clean, and safe. Weaving connections between different stories, realities, and landscapes, the filmmaker offers an anchor point for reflecting on an outcome and ensuring that those who will inherit the world are raised as high as possible, “higher than flames will go.”

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