Now Streaming: ‘The Devil’s Share’ and ‘Pauline Julien’ offer double dose of music docs

Pauline Julien, Intimate and Political
Photo by Antoine Désilets, courtesy of the NFB

By Pat Mullen

Enjoy a double dose of music docs in the comfort of your home. The Devil’s Share, directed by Luc Bourdon, and Pauline Julien, Intimate and Political, directed by Pascale Ferland, are now streaming from the NFB. The two documentaries offer meticulously made archival portraits of the Quiet Revolution in Quebec, told through photographs, old movies, and, most importantly, music. (And yes, Julien’s voice appears in both films.)

The Devil’s Share draws from over 200 films from the NFB archive to create a movie mosaic of Quebec in the 1960s and 1970s. Archival images capture a nation fighting for change as embodied in iconic moments ranging from Expo 1967, the Montreal Olympics, highlights of the Canadiens on the ice, and snowy fun at the Quebec City’s Winter Carnival, all of which the film contrasts with the rumbling political backdrop as a new collective consciousness broke through the scene. The voices of Francophone singers capture the winds of change with distinctly Quebecois flavour, while featuring a who’s who of film and music from the period with faces like Alanis Obomsawin, Micheline Lanctôt, Maurice Richard, and Robert Charlebois.

Pauline Julien, on the other hand, draws from an archival memory bank of moments from the life and career of the late singer and actress. The film chronicles Julien’s career and an political activism (she was jailed for protesting the War Measures Act during the 1970 October Crisis) using a collage of photographs, videos, and diary entries to convey her life in her own words. Together, the films offer a fine double bill on the relationship between the personal and the political, and the role of the individual in a collective movement, as one woman’s voice in a revolution sings in tune with the others.

Watch The Devil’s Share and Pauline Julien, Intimate and Political here:

The Devil’s Share, Luc Bourdon, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Pauline Julien, Intimate and Political, Pascale Ferland, provided by the National Film Board of Canada