(b. December 19, 1943 Montreal, Quebec)
The first woman in Quebec to direct a fiction feature film, Mireille Dansereau has consistently and sensitively dealt with the problems of women living in a modern society. She has excelled in both fiction and documentary, though is perhaps most comfortable with the former, which has allowed her to craft stories based on her own experiences while emulating the style and approach of her aesthetic role model, John Cassavetes.
Dansereau came to filmmaking following fifteen years in dance. After completing her university degree, she made her first short film, Moi, un jour (1967), about the alienation of a young woman who wants to leave her country. Its success enabled her to study at the Royal College of Art in London, England, where her second short film, Compromise (1968), won first prize at the Great Britain Student Film Festival.
After completing her Master’s degree, Dansereau worked in various capacities – researcher, script assistant, sound recorder – before returning to Quebec where she co-founded L’Association Coopérative de Productions Audio-visuelles (ACPAV). In 1972, with minimal resources, she made the landmark La Vie rLvée, a highly personal and feminist feature that enjoyed wide release and critical acclaim in both Quebec and English Canada. The film is an episodic narrative about two women whose obsession for an older man finally leads them back to each other and away from market-driven images of female desire.
Dansereau joined the National Film Board to work on the En tant que femmes series and made her first documentary, Famille et variations, in 1977. She then directed her next fiction feature, L’Arrache-coeur (1979), a sensitive and penetrating portrait of a woman’s relationship with her mother, which earned Dansereau a Genie Award nomination for her original screenplay. After leaving the NFB, she successfully adapted Marie-Claire Blais’s dark, experimental novel, Le Sourd dans la ville, in 1987.
Though she has continued to work sporadically at the NFB – her most recent documentary, L’Idée noire, was released in 2000 – she prefers the freedom and flexibility afforded by independent production.
Film and video work includes
Moi, un jour, 1967 (director; writer; editor; producer)
Compromise, 1968 (director; writer; editor; producer)
Forum, 1969 (director)
Coccinelle, 1970 (director; editor)
J'me marie, j'me marie pas, En tant que femme series, 1973 (director; writer; TV)
Le PPre idéal, 1974 (director)
Basement, 1974 (producer)
Rappelle-toi, 1976 (co-director with Vartkes Cholakian; co-writer with Vartkes Cholakian)
Famille et variations, Société nouvelle/Challenge for Change series, 1977 (director; co-music score with Marthe Blackburn, Marie-MichPle Desrosiers, Pierre Huet, Robert Léger)
Les Baltes B la recherche d'un pays, 1980 (director)
Germaine GuPvremont, 1980 (director)
Les Nordiques ou un peuple sans artifice, 1980 (director)
Un pays B comprendre, 1981 (director)
Le Sourd dans la ville, 1987 (director; co-writer with MichPle Mailhot, Jean-Joseph Tremblay)
Entre elle et moi, 1992 (director; writer; editor; co-cinematographer with Michel Lamothe; producer; narrator)
Les Seins dans la tLte, 1994 (director; writer)
Les Marchés de Londres, 1996 (director; writer; cinematographer)
Duo pour une soliste, 1997 (director)
Les Cheveux en quatre, 1997 (director; writer; co-producer with Marcel Simard)
O comme obsession, 1999 (director; writer)
La Vie d'abord, 1999 (director; writer)
L'Idée noire, 2000 (director; writer)