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On the Ice Floe

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At first glance, the lives of French artist Joseph Kieffer and the ice fishermen of Rimouski, Quebec, seem worlds apart. But the two come together in the great white north. Kieffer was invited to the town of Rimouski by the Caravansérail Artists’ Centre, and soon after arriving he noticed groups of men and women fishing on the ice covering the St. Lawrence River. He offered a trade: in exchange for their stories, he would make them one-of-a-kind weather vanes for their fishing shacks.

Kieffer’s project mirrors the people involved: it is endearing, tender, and very human. Could this be the magical effect of the ice that forms on the river’s surface every winter, drawing people back to participate in the annual ritual of ice fishing? This is a place where silence is transformed into a source of serenity and tranquility, and people join together in an effort to fight off the cold. On the Ice Floe takes us into the heart of this warm yet ephemeral community.

2012, 27 min 11 s

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