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ACADIAN SPIRIT: The Legacy of Philippe d'Entremont

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C'est pour s'émoyer de ses aïeux que le cinéaste acadien Peter d'Entremont a ressoudu à Pubnico, en Nouvelle-Écosse. Il voulait remonter dans sa lignée, en passant par les douze générations qui l'avaient précédé et par le Grand Dérangement, qui a horriblement déchiré l'Acadie. M. d'Entremont s'est particulièrement intéressé au patrimoine laissé par son célèbre aïeux, le baron Philippe Muise d'Entremont.

Acadian filmmaker Peter d'Entremont embarks on a personal journey to Pubnico, Nova Scotia, in search of his family's beginnings. Untangling the history of ten generations, d'Entremont explores the legacy of his illustrious forbear, the Baron Philippe Muise d'Entremont.

Philippe d'Entremont was one of the first French immigrants to settle in the New World. Lieutenant to the Governor, Charles de la Tour, d'Entremont was an educated man whose privilege couldn't protect him from the harsh conditions of Acadia. The history of the d'Entremonts is the history of Acadia. A hundred years after Philippe's arrival, his family would be one of the last to leave during the Acadian Expulsion of 1755, and one of the first to return twelve years later.

Peter d'Entremont explores his family's ties to the Expulsion and to its mythologies. The Expulsion was an horrendous upheaval for Acadians. During the mass deportation of 1755, 10,000 Acadians were exiled for refusing to sign the oath of allegiance to the King of England. At Grand-Pré, d'Entremont visits the famous symbol of Acadian survival, the statue of Evangeline. She was the fictional character of Longfellow's epic American poem, set in Grande Pré. Peter discovers that Grand-Pré was founded by a d'Entremont, a daughter of the Baron, who spent his last years in Grand-Pré.

It is in the final chapter of the film, at an Acadian festival featuring a parade, step-dancing and music, that the filmmaker recognizes the merging of the past and the present and the resounding victory of Acadian survival.

Gemini award-winner (Place of the Boss), and recent winner of Japan's President's Prize (Bronwen and Yaffa), Peter d'Entremont's "ACADIAN SPIRIT" is not merely an examination of what life was like 300 years ago for the first Acadian settlers, it raises questions about identity and heritage, language and culture. Filmmaker Lindalee Tracey adds her writing and dramatic skills to help personalize the humanity of the past.


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