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Canada, 1964 (MIFF 1966, Programme D)

Director: Pierre Perrault, Michel Brault, Marcel Carrière

There is a place in Canada where the moon is still held to influence the earth and where souls of the dead are thought to help catch white whales. Named L'île-aux-Coudres by Jacques Cartier when he landed there in 1535, this small island in the St. Laurence has hardly been changed by time and retains much of its ancient speech, customs and superstitions. For centuries the inhabitants of the isle trapped the beluga whales, but after 1920 the practice was abandoned. The Moontrap is the un-rehearsed story of what happened when the old-timers were persuaded to show that whales could still be caught by the ancient method.

The absorbing interest of the film is not so much the capture of the whale as the folklore and wisdom that is revealed by the chase: to capture a whale the moon must help, and so must the souls of the departed.

Pierre Perrault and Michel Brault, (the latter was cameraman for Chronicle of a Summer) conceived the film and use the free-swinging, cinéma vérité technique in telling their story.

Film of the Year, Canadian Film Awards.

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