Louis-Roger Lafleur (1905-1973)

At the Heart of Native Life

Louis-Roger Lafleur, a priest with the Oblats de Marie-Immaculée missionary community, was in charge of recruitment and fundraising for the organisation from 1936 to 1946. In this capacity, he travelled all over Quebec giving lectures which he supplemented with screenings of films he shot as far away as northern Quebec and the Northwest Territories. Because the Oblats were something of specialists in missions amongst native peoples, several of his short and medium-length films describe the life of missionaries and that of their flocks.

Lafleur went on to occupy a variety of other posts, but continued to film native peoples with an eye to depicting their culture. He also filmed scenes of agricultural and regional life, particularly in Abitibi, and religious events such as ecclesiastical conferences and pilgrimage sites, along with natural scenes. With Albert Tessier, he was one of the first Quebec filmmaker-ethnographers. He made more than forty films, some of which were produced by the Service de ciné-photographie.

Like the work of other religious filmmakers of the day, Lafleur’s films reflect a still-triumphant Catholicism, but this does not detract from their heritage value.