Fifth plenary session: Expo Sound and Vision

Saturday, November 4
1:00 PM–2:45 PM

Location: Council Room, King's College London

Speaker/performer: Yuval Sagiv, Scott Birdwise, Guillaume Lafleur, Caroline Martel

Film: Expo67 film
Lecture: Plenary session
Days: Saturday, 4 November

Yuval Sagiv (York), “Everything All at Once: Expo 67 on Global Television Screens"

Canada's Expo 67 was featured on Our World, a two-hour television program that was broadcasted live worldwide on June 25, 1967 and received by an estimated 350 million television viewers in 24 countries around the world. The program consisted of live sequences that were captured and broadcasted instantaneously via satellite from Europe, Africa, North America, Australia, and Asia. The transmission attempted to provide its contemporary worldwide audience with a complex and comprehensive current portrait of their world, consequently providing us with an authentic document reflecting the preoccupations, ambitions, and goals of the emerging global society that produced it. This paper will consider the aspirations of the program's producers along with the image of the world it produced, while considering the lineage of these images and their impact on the future as envisioned in 1967. The paper will also consider the unique way in which the show was received in Canada. 

Scott Birdwise (York), “Glenn Gould, Contemporary of Expo 67”

The paper will help to contextualize some of the experimental and quasi-utopian cinema and media works presented in the Expo in light of the contemporaneous work of Canadian pianist, radio documentarian, and thinker of many things technological, intellectual and national, Glenn Gould. Gould finally realized his first "contrapuntal" radio documentary, The Idea of North, for the CBC in 1967. In it, Gould meditates on the spaces and exposures both receding from and unfolding before modern people in an increasingly technologically mediated world. Here, as in his writings on the intersections and transformations of public life and technology, Gould unceasingly thought about the forces of what we now call globalization in relation to issues of the nation and civic values. Indeed Gould, like his friend and sometimes interlocutor Marshall McLuhan, was an intellectual and creative inspiration for many of the ideas and themes explored in the Canadian expo. 

Guillaume Lafleur (Cinémathèque québecoise), “Crawley Films et le cinéma promotionnel d’Expo 67”

Cette conférence vise à définir et comprendre la contribution de la société de production privée Crawley Films au cinéma d'Expo 67. Du film promotionnel visant à récolter des fonds pour Expo 67 (Expo 67, réalisé par René Bonnière en 1963) jusqu'à l'intégration de productions cinématographiques au sein d'un pavillon de l'Expo, c'est aussi d'une certaine conception du cinéma, à la fois commercial et narrativement novateur dont il s'agit. 

"Crawley Films and Promotional Filmmaking at Expo67"

This talk will aim to define and explain the contribution of the private production society Crawley Films to the cinematic offering of Expo67. From the making of a promotional film – Expo67, directed by René Bonnière in 1963, which was part of the Expo67 fundraising effort – to the integration of cinematic production within an Expo pavilion, Crawley Films demonstrated an allegiance to a particular notion of cinema that was simultaneously commercial and innovative. 

Caroline Martel (UQAM/Concordia/Université de Montréal), "Québec Cinéma à l'heure de l'Expo:Sponsored meets auteur film in the emergence of a national cinema" 

Expo67 is recognized for its impressive array of innovative films and cinematic experiences, with some of "the most important films that have disappeared from the Canadian canon" (Seth Feldman) now being rediscovered as part of broader research into the history of cinema and Canadian cinema. Conceived to displayed in specific contexts, the majority of these works were actually sponsored films and could be looked at through the lens of "useful cinema" (Acland/Wasson). Conversely, many of the Terre des Hommes films have benefitted from much creative freedom and could be labelled as auteur works.

Commissioned by the Office du film du Québec through Claude Fournier's production company Onyx-Films, Le Québec à l'heure de l'Expo is a very good example of how Expo67 allowed for the emergence of cinematic practices and new productions at a key time of national (re)definition. Yet Direct Cinema, developed by francophone filmmakers at the National Film Board of Canada, has been celebrated as the "definitive" cinematic founding moment in the liberation narrative of the Quiet Revolution. By adding some considerations on independent "free" productions that were stimulated by the universal and international exhibition in Montréal, we are invited to reopen the Québec cinema history book.