Reason Over Passion / La Raison Avant la Passion

Reason Over Passion is structured around four distinct sections, with a loosely constructed preface that introduces the motifs Wieland employs consistently throughout the film: strobing images of the Canadian flag; long shots of passing landscapes; and the lyrics to “O Canada,” didactically presented as overlayed text. Followed by a silent take of the artist’s face reflected in a mirror, singing the opening lines to “O Canada,” the origins of the title of the film are presented: a quote from Trudeau, in which he stated “About reason over passion, that is the theme of all of my writings.” While she did not have a particular film in mind when shooting the three portions of footage, when she later edited the film she described the structure as beginning on the East Coast and moving west, with her summer footage picturing the East Coast and Quebec, the Trudeau footage standing in for Ontario as the political and bureaucratic bastion of the country, and lastly the winter footage shot from the train covering the prairies onwards. However, once the film reaches the West Coast, British Columbia is only referred to by the flash of a postcard of a steamer ship on the Pacific Ocean at the closing of the film.
Anne Low
by Joyce Wieland Canada 1969 83’