Wednesday, January 01, 2014

No Honour in His Own Country


Frederic Back died on December 24.  I first heard of it on Jerry Beck's Animation Scoop website and then found an obituary in the L.A. Times.  Turning to Canada's media, there was nothing.  Eventually, CBC radio's As It Happens aired a segment with Normand Roger, composer for Back's best films, remembering Back.

Now, over one week later, the two national papers, The Globe and Mail and the National Post, have yet to run any kind of obituary for the two-time Oscar winner and member of the Order of Canada.  CTV and The Canadian Press have both done perfunctory obituaries.  Only the French language Le Devoir has any kind of lengthy coverage.

There is no question that Back was the greatest living Canadian animator.  Now that he is gone, I would be hard pressed to suggest a successor who is even close to Back's accomplishments.  Not only was Back a brilliant artist and animator, he was a dedicated environmentalist whose films celebrated Quebec's landscape and culture. It's a crime that no one who regularly writes about art or film in English-speaking Canada has seen fit to comment on Back's death or his accomplishments.

The Globe and Mail did publish an obituary for Al Goldstein on December 19.  It's disheartening to know that the paper feels that an American pornographer merits more coverage than an award winning Canadian animator.

Update: The Globe and Mail finally published an obituary one month and two days after Back's death. As of January 26, the National Post has still done nothing.


Christopher Sobieniak said...

That is totally a shame indeed. CBC should've devoted a whole night to his work as I see it.

JPilot said...

Hey Mark,

This is just one taste of how old Canadian News institutions like the Globe and Mail and Societe Radio Canada, the French CBC maintain the perception of the 2 solitudes of Canada. Frederick Back is from Quebec, and worked in French, therefore NOT Canadian in the tacit covenant between the Globe and Mail and it's readers. I am sure it was in all the nation's Sun newspapers, which are owned by Quebecor. To be fair, Societe Radio Canada, the French CBC has always had a separatist bias.

I don't want to editorialize on this matter, but I hope it sheds a light for American readers of your blog, and that Canadians are not shocked by this, especially coming from a mothball smelling, old money rag like the G and M.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

Sad if there's still that divide, JPilot.

Dan Haskett said...

Incredible. And sickening.